Succession Planning – Better Without the Ion?

Those of us who follow the Talent Management investment curves know that Performance Management and Succession Planning are hot trends right now. Companies are attempting to leverage their workforce as a competitive advantage and both of these areas had technology innovations in recent years. 

Of course, as is often the case with trends, there are companies that have a plan first and leverage technology to solve it, and there are companies who start with a solution and attempt to figure out the problem.

This leads to many wanting to call into question the whole idea. 

Personally, I think that the point of succession planning is really not for succession at all. Most often C-suite changes are made when a company needs to “fix” something. When this is the case, companies will most likely want to look outside the four walls for new ideas.

Succession planning is useful in the case of a long-known retirement. Of course, planned retirement-based successions are often exceptions, especially in North America. In an attempt to avoid having people throw out the baby with the bathwater, I would like to suggest that you still need succession planning for two key reasons.

  1. Emergencies 
    In the unfortunate situation that something unexpected were to happen, having a well-established succession plan can help avoid additional disruption in the short-term. An excellent example has been given of Brokaw stepping in to fill the shoes of Tim Russert during the election.

  2. Developing bench strength
    In my mind, here is where the real value can be had. If you look at your succession initiative as a broader discussion about bench strength and development alignment, you can get a lot bigger ROI for the exercise. Using a succession discussion to analyze several layers of your organization against readiness can help you build development plans, define workforce planning initiatives, and bring to light top talent within your organization. 

So for those who wonder what all the hype is in succession planning, I encourage you to take a longer view of the process than just the tactical (or the competitive) approach. Use this emerging trend to help you to provide more value to the strategic needs of the company. Don’t just plan for succession, plan for success.

 

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.

Should You Tell Them?

Over the weekend while attending a Cabernet tasting event, I was talking with a friend and somehow (yes I know — this suggests I have no life OR maybe I’m just really excited about Talent Management) the topic of “top talent transparency” came up. Of course, we didn’t use those words, but it was the topic, nonetheless. 

When we talk about “top talent,” we tend to agonize along the following lines: 

  • If I tell someone that they are on “the list,” will their ego make me regret it?
  • What about those who are not on “the list,” will they be negatively impacted?

I’m going to risk it all with an opinion here, feel free to disagree (in comments or otherwise). I believe you should be willing to disclose this information to individuals. Why? Because they are going to find out anyway, so pretending to hide it will not solve your problems. By sharing this information, you can have a better chance of actually getting what you want from those individuals who you consider your top talent. In other words, by letting them know you consider them top talent you have a better opportunity to help them understand why, and as a result they can focus on the behaviors that make them critical to your organization. 

It reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother in the second grade after I was tested for the MGM program. The conversation went something like this:

Meg: How did I do?

Mom: I can’t tell you.

Meg: Why? I had to take a test today instead of getting to watch a film in the library with the rest of my class, what do you mean you won’t tell me how I did?

Mom: I’m told not to tell you because they are worried that by knowing the results it might cause you to act differently. 

Meg: Huh?!

Yes, there are risks with transparency, but at least those you can actively manage.

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.