Five Tips for Succession Planning With an Objective Approach

succession planningDo you consider succession planning to be a priority, but apply little in the way of time or resources to talent management at your organization’s senior levels? If this sounds like you, it may be that you recognize the importance of identifying your future leaders, but are unsure of how to get started.


It is important to identify senior management candidates, but with a strategic plan that goes far beyond simply jotting down the names of a few high-performing, upper-level managers. Here are some suggestions for getting started:


Create a profile of the leader’s position, and let multiple team members contribute. Instead of the head of human resources and the chief executive officer presenting a succession plan to the board of directors, get as many stakeholders as possible involved in succession planning. Your board of directors should be involved in determining the needs of the organization, not only in your current situation, but toward the goals and objectives of the company’s future.


This process of creating a leader profile should go deep, diving beyond a simple assessment of skills, education and experience needed for the job – and including a focus on necessary qualities, competencies and behaviors that will empower your organization. Once these metrics have been developed, it will be easier to evaluate potential candidates more objectively.


Evaluate your current talent pool. A behavioral assessment should be conducted among your current staff to determine which team members possess the motivations, tendencies and behaviors that you have identified as necessary for leadership. This evaluation should not be limited to the top few executives, but should include your entire senior management. The assessment should go wide and deep, so depending on the size of your organization, you may include more than just your top layer of management.


Identify your “in case of emergency” team. If your CEO were to leave tomorrow, who will take the reins of the organization until leadership determines a permanent replacement? While this person may be your CFO or a board member, that person should be prepared and trained to handle an emergency succession to the chief leadership position.


On-board your successor. Many organizations making great strides in succession planning completely ignore the process that needs to occur after the successor is named. Crucial support is necessary to ensure that a successor is ready to take on the position. Don’t overlook the importance of creating a transition that feels seamless to the team and to the public.


Integrate behavioral assessments into the culture of your company. While succession planning tends to focus on top-tier employees, the need for objective evaluation of candidates for any job position is critical. Putting employees into the wrong role is a costly mistake. Creating a culture where you no longer rely on gut feelings about a candidate or mistake an employee’s long hours as productivity is a valuable practice.


Contact PI Consulting Group for more information on the ways that behavioral assessment can create an objective talent management strategy for succession planning. Analyze, align and optimize with the PI System from PI Consulting Group to create a data-driven succession plan for your company.