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Succession Management is a formalized and structured set of processes that drive how executive and critical skill roles will be staffed and replenished. It is designed to meet business objectives by continually sustaining the top leadership and key contributor structure over time and across the enterprise. It moves successor and high potential (“HIPO”) identification beyond a single leader’s opinion and introduces multiple objective criteria into the process that help form and augment the observations and opinions of numerous leaders.
It formalizes the sharing of data on successors and HIPO candidates to gain alignment around both the identification and development planning of these individuals. This is done in a manner that can serve to increase the soundness and validity of the selection of these individuals as future leaders worthy of enhanced investment. By adopting these practices, the organization is also committing to formally structured development of the entire pool of successors and HIPOs, creating a culture of leadership development that endows the organization with a continuously growing and improving leadership team.
When well-constructed and -executed, Succession Management improves the leadership and critical position bench strength, with the goal of having a continuous feeder pool of successors ready to replace departing individuals. From a business disruption perspective, the loss of a leader or key contributor can be a setback that can take from months to years to recover (from the vacancy timeframe through the time required for acclimating the new incumbent). Such personnel losses can also overtax other executives and teams as they must perform the work that the previous incumbent left behind.
These practices also reduce talent gaps that might otherwise go unrecognized and unfilled. By naming an individual a future successor or HIPO, they also increase the likelihood of retention and preserve skills and investments in the high-value performers who are proven to be a strong “fit” within in the company culture.
Identifying current and upcoming talent gaps, new positions, and at-risk incumbents.
Developing and adopting of five primary formal, structured criteria for determining successors and HIPOs criteria that offer the best likelihood of accuracy in the long run.
Reviewing, considering, and aligning on succession candidates through a collaborative process in which candidates are vetted against objective standards and aggregated observations/opinions by experienced leaders.
Creating tailored development plans for each selected successor while ensuring accountability for their completion.