Succession Planning – Beyond the Process
When developing a succession planning process* it’s all too easy to get to get caught up in the crunchy parts – the tools, forms, software etc., and to diminish or even ignore the cultural elements. It’s true that you need good data, a system to manage that data, a process of evaluating the performance and potential of candidates, a way of prioritizing development for high potentials, an algorithm for determine areas of most risk etc. etc..
But just as critical to the success of the process are the cultural shifts that need to occur in hiring managers, organizational hiring processes, and attitudes to candidates that on the surface may not seem like the ideal fit.
These cultural shifts are not just on the organization side – candidates must also shift in how they see their potential. With a current skills shortage, and an even larger shift on the horizon, the time has never been better for candidates to look beyond their current career path, vertical market, or area of expertise into new areas of career opportunity.
Both sides of the succession equation need to look at how they currently see the culture of hiring in the organization. Mental models such as ‘you can’t move from research to operations’, or ‘you can’t lead a team unless you have worked in that area’ are unnecessarily limiting. They need to be examined, tested, and where appropriate broken.
That takes two people – a hiring manager willing to see that a candidate can make the shift and a candidate willing to take it on.
*I prefer, and generally use, the term Leadership Continuity Planning.