Posts Tagged ‘Succession’

How Effective is Succession Planning in your Organization?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Succession is defined as the right, act, or process, by which one person succeeds to the office or rank of another.

How is the succession of your organizations’ talent happening?  Do some of your employees have implied “rights” to specific positions? Does their “time in grade” entitle those who have “paid their dues” to simply move into a vacated senior position regardless whether or not they are the most qualified or possess the most potential?

Does your organization use the “replacement” method of succession whereby a successor is simply chosen from a ‘short list” of employees that a select group of managers have compiled behind closed doors?

Or does your HR organization provide a collaborative process that brings leaders together to discuss designated positions and relevant potential talent as possible candidates? This of course, is the most effective and desired state.

If your succession process is not of the “desired state” mentioned above, then you are missing out on an incredible opportunity to enable your
business as well as potentially putting your business at risk by not filling opportunities with the top talent within your organization.

How do you get started?  Here are the first 3 steps:

  • As an HR business partner, you first need to be sure you completely understand your business and its current / future strategy and goals.
  • You then need to understand your organization’s key positions that drive and impact your business.  This includes not only key leadership roles but also positions with specialized skills that are challenging to find and or develop.
  • Next, and most importantly, you need to get buy-in from your GM/CEO, key leaders, etc. in the development and implementation of a succession process for your business. Although HR should own this process, succession is not a standalone HR “project” and needs to be done collaboratively and with the support, understanding, and buy-in of senior leaders and other key stakeholders.

Many small and medium-sized businesses fall into the trap of not implementing a succession plan, just like many people put off creating a will. While there are many other key considerations and variables that go into a developing a succession plan, don’t look at the process as insurmountable. CAI can help bring order to the process and partner with you along the way.

Rick Washburn leads the Advice & Resolution team at CAI. In his role, he advises executives and HR professionals on strategic and organizational issues, tackling subjects ranging from employee engagement to talent management. With his 25 years experience in HR management, Rick is uniquely poised to advice and lead businesses to successful HR strategies.

Are You Getting Leadership Development Right?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

leadership developmentIn today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares strategies HR professionals can take to ensure their next generation of leaders are prepared to fill the shoes of their predecessors and lead their business to future success. 

One topic that is a constant point of dialogue for HR professionals is leadership development. The quality of leadership, more than any other factor, often determines the success or failure of an organization. Leadership development helps to improve leadership quality by ensuring that leaders possess the competencies to achieve the organization’s strategy, continue to improve the organizational culture, and strengthen organizational capabilities.

The best investment an organization can make is in the development of its future leaders. Such an investment yields both short-term and long-term dividends. In the short-term, leaders will be better prepared for the challenges they face in their current roles. They will also be more likely to help foster a learning culture if they themselves are an active participant in learning.

Additionally, and more importantly, the risk associated with leadership departures is greatly reduced by improved better bench strength that is a consequence of leadership development. Many organizations fail to adequately develop the next generation of people who will replace individuals in these leadership roles. Making matters worse is the fact that a significant number of baby-boomers will be retiring in the next 5 years.

On one hand, the responsibility for an organizational commitment to developing future leaders begins with the executive team.

On the other hand, HR should own all talent processes and must play a key role in spotlighting the issue and driving the leadership development and succession planning processes.

Forward-looking HR professionals should begin the process by answering these questions:

  1. What are we doing to prepare our next generation of leaders?
  2. Is our pipeline filled with the talent needed to carry out our organization’s strategy?
  3. Who is the ‘person in charge’ of developing our new leaders?
  4. Is leadership development an organizational priority?
  5. How are our top leaders involved?

Where to Start

Step 1: Align with strategy

Ensure that the leadership development efforts are aligned to the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. Senior leaders also must accept that leadership development is a lengthy process.

Step 2: Create common set of values

Ensure that there is a common set of leadership values and standards that permeate everything the organization does including-  recruiting, hiring, succession planning, and performance management.

A good starting point for the values may include the following:

  • Results Focus
  • Accountability
  • Respect for Others
  • Leveraging Diversity
  • Effective Communication
  • Building Trust

Step 3: Communicate the philosophy

Create a leadership development philosophy statement that defines the principles the organization champions. A leadership development philosophy provides direction for those crafting the plan and a communication tool to help the organization understand leadership development.

Step 4: Agree upon objectives

Make certain that all leaders are aligned to the following objectives:

  1. Make improving bench strength a top priority (including succession and retention plans)
  2. Ensure each leader takes responsibility for developing future leaders
  3. Measure the business results of leadership development
  4. Making learning an organizational priority
  5. Create formal development plans for emerging leaders

Lack of true engaged support from current leaders is one of the key reasons that leadership development fails. Your role as an HR professional is to help senior leaders see leadership development as a strategy as opposed to being the project du jour. Identifying and improving the quality of leaders must be a top priority to ensure a filled pipeline of experienced employees ready to be placed.

For any further questions about how you can support leadership development, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve leadership development, we’d love to hear them in the comments section!

Create a Succession Plan to Accurately Predict Your Company’s Future

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

July Quote Blog 2013

Alan Kay, the father of the personal computer said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

What does the future of your organization look like? How will your organization proceed in the next five or ten years? If you don’t have the answers, you should get started on inventing your future now. The best way to do that is with a succession plan.

Maintaining business success in the years to come depends on whether your current leadership team creates a plan outlining which of your top-performing employees will step into leadership and newly created roles when the appropriate time comes. The retirement of one of your top managers or a decision of permanent maternity leave from a key specialist are examples of why succession planning is critical for keeping your business running smoothly. Review the advantages of succession planning in more detail here:

Succession planning is hard to complete if you can’t pinpoint key employees who can take over high-profile positions in your company when the time comes. Retaining hardworking employees is essential to foretelling your company’s future.  If you’re having trouble holding on to your company’s stars, you may need to revise your retention strategy. Here are some tips that can help you decrease turnover and increase loyalty among your workforce:

Creating a succession plan is an involved process that should include your senior leadership team and have input from the heads of all of your business departments. The goal of your succession plan is to identify, recruit and prepare your talented employees for important company positions they will eventually lead. Succession plans can vary based on the size and industry of an organization. However, most plans share several basic strategies. Check them out here:

For more information and additional tips on succession planning, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746,

**Workplace Insights will take a break for the Independence Day holiday. New posts will return next Tuesday, July 9. Please have a happy and safe holiday!

Basic Strategies for Succession Planning

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Succession planning is an important process that should be carried out by a management team to ensure the continuity of an organization’s business plan.  The key goal is to identify, recruit and prepare the most talented employees for key roles within the company.  These carefully selected employees should be provided with the education and training they need to achieve and succeed at higher levels and with broader responsibilities.

Through the planning process, these highly recognized employees will appreciate the time, attention and development invested in them, resulting in key employee retention, which is absolutely necessary to ensure the effectiveness of succession plans.

Succession plans vary by company, business plan, and the availability of talented employees.  However, every succession plan should follow some basic strategies:

  • Monitoring Future Needs – Tomorrow’s key roles may not even exist in today’s organization
  • Talent Assessment – Develop a way to identify your most talented employees
  • Hire for the Gaps – Identify the roles that are beyond the capabilities of your current employees and hire to fill those skill gaps
  • Share Your Plan – Key employees should understand early in their careers the special path you have put them on and the importance of the role they are being developed to fill
  • Use Available Technology – Track and monitor the training and development of high potentials
  • Create Developmental Opportunities – Seek out education that offers executive training and mentoring
  • Measure Performance – Challenge your key employees, but measure them fairly as you are asking them to stretch beyond normal expectations

Remember, effective succession planning is a journey, not a destination. Once you have the plan in place, it requires constant and consistent monitoring for adjustments and improvements as the organization changes over time.

If you need further information or assistance with succession planning for your organization, contact Molly Hegeman, CAI’s Director of HR Services, at (919) 878-9222, (336) 668-7746 or

Photo Source: madebytess