Most people will immediately identify people as their most important asset. They will state that they are the differentiator in their business. I agree that is true, but few leaders back those statements up with specific actions that support their beliefs.
How much time do you and the other leaders in your location spend talking about finding great people? I mean really getting in depth about finding new great talent. Does that match your thoughts about people being your most important aspect of your business? Are you always looking outside for talent or are you training the high potential talent you already have?
Succession planning is one of the most forward-looking things you can do as a leader. The future is more than next week, next month, or even next quarter – people planning means looking out more than a year, even two in most cases. The entry-level talent you are scouting today is next year’s supervisor pool.
Are you thinking of it that way?
Here are three steps to build a succession planning process for success.
Looking for new talent and building your succession plan is a never ending goal. Even if you believe you have all your positions filled and multiple people on your succession plan, there is always room for more talent. Do not let the fact that you have positions filled and a succession plan in place become a limiting factor to discovering additional great people. This also means you must continue to manage the other end of the spectrum to create opportunities. A good friend of mine always talked about the A B Cs of talent – Always Be ‘Cruitin’. It’s a little goofy, but I bet you’ll remember it. The point is, don’t stop looking for and developing great talent to grow your business.
Succession planning should go several levels into the organization. Even if your location only has 4 levels, you need to have a plan for each level and ‘who’s up next.’ Have a plan at each level. As you get higher up, the more in-depth the succession plan will be. Taking time to look deep into your talent pool will help you see where you have strengths as well as the opportunities for improvement.
Encourage the Culture
Everyone should be a part of succession planning in some way. Does everyone know that there is a process for reviewing and developing talent? Do they know that it is beyond the once per year performance appraisal? Does your location have an environment that encourages internal promotions and growth? Do not let your current position dictate your role in succession planning. Whether you are currently an associate, supervisor or manager, you have a role in succession planning. It could be as simple as asking questions about how the process works in your location. Or it could be asking about how you ensure you are part of the location’s succession plan. Does your supervisor know what you want to do in the future? Take an active role in succession planning regardless of your role. Succession planning should be a part of the culture to really have a winning people strategy.
Planning for the people in your business should be happening at all levels. Understand that you too should be part of someone’s succession planning process. The best way to ensure that you are classified as ready is to have your replacement identified and trained to fill your position.
Succession planning is not a task to be completed. It is a strategy that requires on-going high-level execution. Build a process that allows you to review all of your people, capture any notes or changes, and update the steps they need to continue their development path. Having a good understanding of your team, their strengths, and development stage will ensure you have multiple options when an opening occurs. As we mentioned at the start – people are almost always the biggest differentiator in a successful business. Think of your succession plan as your Success Plan and win for the long-term.
How far into the future are you looking with your succession plan? Click here or on the comments button above to share your thoughts.