Past, Now, FutureTrends are pointing to a growing scarcity of leaders. As Baby-Boomers seek to transition out of roles as business leaders, businesses are struggling to find adequate leaders within their org chart to step up and fill their roles. When a successor is not available from within an organization, talent acquisition becomes imperative. Without proper planning, organizations can find themselves facing a significant void of talent in the coming years.

Four Important Considerations

  1. Initiate Early
  2. Identify Hard and Soft Skills
  3. Actively Participate
  4. Thorough Vetting

Succession planning has always grabbed the attention of business leaders. Today more than ever before, business leaders are challenged as they struggle to successfully create and execute a succession plan. An already difficult process becomes more complicated when businesses wait too long to plan and execute. Developing a succession plan is a process that requires great attention and can be a lengthy endeavor. By addressing succession planning early, business leaders can leave their role and organization in capable hands and better prepared to take on the challenges of the future.

As succession planning commences, organizations should begin by conducting a thorough “Needs Analysis”. What type of leader will the organization need in order to succeed in the future? Discovering the “Hard Skills” will, no doubt, be important to the “Needs Analysis”, but even more important are the cultural considerations of the organization and the emotional intelligence required of the successor. Hiring an outside firm to assess these components is valuable. They can provide an unbiased view and lead the organization through challenging discussions to uncover the organization’s true culture. The search team should strive to establish a consensus of the required Hard and Soft Skills considered necessary for the successor.

An active and full participation of the incumbent in the search process is crucial. They have lived the role, leading the organization through good times and bad. Their insights and knowledge of what is required is second to none. The future success of the organization relies heavily on them being involved in all aspects of the search including the on-boarding and plans for future career development. The greater the involvement and accountability of the incumbent, the better chances for success.

A thorough interviewing process utilizing a Topgrading (formerly CIDS, Bradford D. Smart) interview process (or something similar) is important to insure the proper candidate is selected. The depth and breadth of questioning will place the search team in a good position to confidently make their selection. In this instance, as with the “Needs Analysis”, open and candid discussions among the search team should be welcomed and encouraged.

The selection of a successor is one of the most important decisions a business leader will make. Beginning the succession planning early, determining the necessary Hard and Soft skills, actively participating and digging deep into the candidate’s experiences during the vetting process will give the business leader the peace of mind knowing that the business is in capable hands.