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Succession planning doesn''t happen spontaneously. It needs to happen with a plan over a period of time. It also requires identifying those who should be part of the plan, while offering all of your team equal opportunity for being considered.
It''s one thing to source for people outside of the company. There are benefits to having new talent infused into the existing structure. They bring with them other experiences from which your company and your teams can grow. Still, there is the time it takes for that person to learn your company ropes. If you are in one of the higher positions of authority, it''s beneficial to have grown your own talent for a number of reasons.
RECOUPING IN-HOUSE TRAINING EFFORTS
No doubt, you''ve been using various tools for in-house training. Performance as they made department meeting presentations showed you who the potential leadership candidates are. Taking note of those performance indicators provides the basis for planned assignments with increasing challenges in new areas.
It''s a wise move to cull the number of advancement candidates based on their performance after formal in-house and offsite training sessions. It will help you recoup those training dollars. Maximizing man hours and dollars from those sessions means fewer hours spent training the newly-installed leader on how to do things in your organization or waiting to see if they can prove their interview representations. It also means reinvesting those expenditures immediately so that you gain the most from them.
MENTORING FOR MULTIPLE PAYOFFS
Pairing your team members, more seasoned with newer, offers knowledge sharing between the two. Their interactions nurture some intangible assets. Among them are mentoring and informal training. These pairings grow knowledge of your department''s best practices, acceptance and trust. These are also natural coaching opportunities. The more senior of the two can report on the progress the junior is making and recommend other projects where their talents can grow.
How well your teams function will highlight those who have leadership qualities worth development. You''ll be able to see some other important factors such as acceptance by the group. How well the senior team members function also gives you an idea of who well they will do as leaders who can be included in the class of candidates for promotion. And from those team situations, you''ll be able to identify which ones should be included in the class of executive candidates.
As we''ve discovered from the barrage of events during the past two years, a good leader needs to be level headed and clear thinking in times of crisis. This person needs to be able to focus on getting the job done and accomplish doing so with less than optimal resources, without making more disruption in the process. They are problem solvers and innovators.
As part of your succession plan, it''s a good idea to include some opportunities for crisis management so that the candidates can do their own validation of their leadership skills. No, this does not mean sabotaging equipment or manufacturing crises. But having a team that rotates responsibility for addressing certain types of emergencies will give you a good idea about who performs and how under such circumstances while keeping the pressure low.
RECRUITING COST CONTAINMENT
Recruiting expert John Sullivan recommends in-house sourcing for executive level positions and letting outside recruiters handle the lower level opportunities. He cites quite a few reasons for this reverse of the usual practice. High cost of third-party recruiting with few bases for a guarantee of a successful candidate are a couple. But his recommendation underscores the importance of developing a good succession plan and using it to develop your own talent.
As with other voices that advocate success planning, Sullivan points out the need for growing your own talent that is then equipped with a thorough knowledge of the corporate culture and protocol. Having a high impact on business and stock prices, produce positive results with the rich native resources, and (perhaps not too tangentially) are a good source of praise, recognition and reward for those who develop the talent.
Another of the benefits of succession planning and development is the low level of start-up time for the new executive. (Have I hinted at this enough times?) During these economically chaotic times, it''s more than a good idea to have someone who can step into the limelight and keep the same show running, on course, without a lot of lag time. The Board will be very pleased to have a recommendation from you that you are confident that Candidate X and Y and Z are all extremely qualified and capable of taking the helm as soon as you are ready to pass the reigns.
BUT START WITH PLANNING AND EXECUTION
There are a lot of benefits to succession planning. These are but a few. However, as with mentoring, the best development has at its underpinnings a good plan that pushes the talent up. Not only will you feel better about your next move, you''ll have another credit for the type of manager you are -- one who plans and develops for success.
Your Corporate Bench Is the Source of Future All-Star Talent
The Benefits of Succession Planning
Improve Your Internal Brand: Don''t Outsource the High-Level Jobs
Managing a High Potential Succession Pool