Do I Need to Worry About Succession Planning?

By Brian Nadeau, PCC.

The simple answer is yes. 

When was the last time you and your team thought about succession planning? If it has been a while, you might be caught off guard and left scrambling to find a replacement or get a position filled. No matter where you are in an organization, it’s important to have a plan in place for who will replace you when you move up or out of the organization. It’s also as important for you to have a succession plan in place for your direct reports and their direct reports. In an emergency, or when you/they win the lottery, who will step in and take your/their place tomorrow temporarily? Who will be ready in 6 months? In a year? Answering these questions will be worth the effort and peace of mind that comes with succession planning. Use these steps to help create your succession plan.

  1. Identify the person in your group best suited to take over your role. 
  2. Meet with them to see if they are interested. Don’t be surprised if some say they aren’t. Not everyone you approach will be willing to take on your role.
  3. Work with them to develop the steps that will be needed to get them ready to take over. Will it take 2 months, 6 months, a year? Map out the monthly/weekly steps it will take to get the person ready.
  4. Take on mentoring them and exposing them to all that you are doing to help them grow into your position. Provide professional development if needed. 
  5. Over time, take small steps — have them assume some of your responsibilities to help them gain experience and confidence. 
  6. Tweak and adjust the plan monthly to capture those changes that might have occurred since the last time you reviewed the plan.

What if there are no internal candidates? It is important to work with your HR partner to identify an external candidate that will be able to take over. Life happens, and with that it is critical to be prepared for any changes.

These same steps can be taken by your direct reports and their direct reports to understand and develop individuals in their succession plans.

Succession planning is critical in any organization. If you are at the top, make sure it is part of your structure. Doing it helps with employee retention, engagement, and overall employee satisfaction. Don’t delay, start yours today.

To learn more about succession planning and developing your organization’s leadership, schedule a consultation with Brian.