On a survey gathering data for a retreat for a client, there were questions about their succession planning program. After receiving a survey back, I would interview each respondent to gather some deeper info as to reasons behind their answers. One person commented: “I really haven’t made any plans to replace myself.” Succession planning is about you, but not ALL about you. Another respondent commented, “I don’t know what we’re going to do when Bernice leaves.” Bernice, not her real name, is the CEO. These team members obviously haven’t a clue as to what it takes to launch the succession planning rocket. Further, they fail to understand the full purpose and impact of a succession planning program.
In addition to a misunderstanding about who to include in a succession planning program, the following items received low to moderate scores:
- Talent Management
- Training and Development
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Career Management
- Key Performance Indicators in Place
The above items are key components in launching any succession plan. Without these, even if you have a plan, it can’t be a good one. One point is clear though. The statement, “I don’t know what we’re going to do when Bernice leaves.” is a clear signal that a succession plan is non-existent. Without a plan, there may be chaos among those who want the position, or no clear choice among the team, or there may be no one who is ready to move the strategic plan forward. The organization will lose ground, and market share with no one ready to take the helm. This rocket topples over on the launch pad.