Who’s next? A succession planning template
In most companies that have been around for many years, perhaps decades, there will come a time when you will take note of the status of your senior officers. You’d ask yourself, what would happen if our elderly senior officers retired? Who would replace them? Is there a plan?
You are left to wonder what would become of the department he or she would leave behind and what impact it would have on the company. You’re lucky if there are efforts to develop a structure to resolve such a situation. But in most cases, unfortunately, a succession planning program is missing.
We asked our resource person, Dennis Areño, to guide us through what we could do, in the absence of such a plan. Here are his suggestions:
Of course, the quick answer is to develop your own succession plan. In developing this plan, it is useful to ask questions like:
- How would a company address the sudden changes happening around the business environment today?
- How would a company align its next generation of officers with the mission, vision and core values of the company?
- What would be the roles of the incumbent department heads as they respectively “pass the baton” to those whom they consider their successors?
These are the starting points I would recommend for everyone. Note, however, that succession planning is entirely different from replacement planning. It goes beyond identifying someone to succeed an incumbent leader. In order to create and implement a successful program, half of the work involved is to prepare the successor candidates for the duties and responsibilities that would be ahead of them.
You will discover that identifying the correct successor candidates is already hard enough. But getting them prepared and realizing later that he or she may not be “the one”, after all, are the realities that make succession planning harder than one would like to assume.
There is also the very real possibility that, after the incumbent department head has poured out all the energy and passed on all the knowledge to the successor candidate, the latter may eventually have plans of leaving the company for another opportunity, which will be a painful experience for the incumbent department head who took the program seriously. With all these factors, you should at least have an alternative choice or two.
Other important factors to define are:
1. Specific eligibility considerations in the selection of successor candidates; and
2. A development plan for each type of profile of a possible candidate identified.
In addition, behavioral skills are also factors of consideration for both the incumbent department heads and the successor candidates. In your plan, the incumbent department heads should also be equipped with the essential ingredient of “care” so that they could give their successor candidates the much-needed motivation to strive for a higher-level position despite the effort that they would have to go through in order for them to eventually qualify for the position.
This “care” ingredient would also be crucial in assuring the incumbent department heads and the company that the successor candidate would be attracted to stay even if there might be an opportunity elsewhere.
Getting the right people to succeed you is an elaborate process that would require careful, deliberate planning. It is not only a question of competence and character but, most importantly, a question of loyalty. It’s never too late to start looking for such candidates, and if you haven’t started going through your roster yet, the best time to start is now.
Areño will facilitate a virtual workshop titled “Succession Planning: Ensuring Continuity and Success in the Organization” on Aug. 22–23. The eight-hour virtual workshop will help leaders prepare a development plan to ensure continuity of leadership. This workshop can also be customized specifically to the needs of your organization.
For more information, you may write to firstname.lastname@example.org or send an SMS to these numbers: 0919-3428667 and 0998-9641731.
For your other learning needs, Inquirer Academy could assist you in designing and facilitating a virtual workshop, a webinar, or a self-paced online course for your organization.
The author is the executive director of Inquirer Academy.