5 Steps for an Efficient Succession Planning

by Jun 1, 2023

What happens when the CEO of your organization suddenly resigns or retires? Are you confident that there is someone ready to step up and fill the leadership gap? 

That is why succession planning is vital to every organization. Succession planning can help ensure a smooth transition of leadership and maintain continuity in the face of unexpected changes. 

Starting a succession plan can be daunting, but the first step is to recognize that leadership is not limited to a select few individuals. Instead, effective organizations believe that leadership potential exists at all levels and focus on nurturing and developing leadership qualities throughout the organization. By doing so, they create a culture of leadership and ensure that the organization is well-positioned to respond to unexpected changes and challenges.


Succession Planning Steps

These five steps will help ensure that your organization is well-prepared to meet its future leadership needs and maintain long-term stability and growth.


1. Identify Critical Roles

To begin the succession planning process, start by identifying the key positions within your organization that are critical to its success. These positions may include but not limited to:

  • Executive leadership
  • Sales and marketing
  • Technical experts
  • Operational management
  • Succession planning manager

These positions may be difficult to fill, require specialized knowledge or skills, or are essential to the organization’s long-term growth and stability. Identifying these key positions is essential to creating a robust and effective succession plan.


2. Evaluate Potential Candidates

After identifying the critical roles in your organization, the next step is to evaluate potential candidates who have the skills, knowledge, and experience to fill those positions. It’s important to not only consider technical skills but also leadership potential, and work ethic within the organization. 

Take the time to evaluate your potential leaders based on a holistic set of criteria. This will help you make sure that you’re not just looking at one aspect of their abilities. And when you do find that perfect candidate, make sure they’re committed to their own growth and development within the organization.


3. Create a Development Plan

So you’ve identified potential leaders in your organization and evaluated them based on a holistic set of criteria. Great job! The next step is to create a development plan to help them acquire the skills and experience they need to take on critical roles in the future.

This is where ongoing training comes in. It’s important to provide your potential leaders with the resources and support they need to develop their skills and knowledge. Pairing them with experienced mentors can also be beneficial, as they can offer guidance and advice along the way, including shadowing ang giving hands-on experience to the role.


4. Monitor Progress

Monitoring the progress will help you identify any areas where additional training or support may be needed, as well as help you gauge their readiness to take on the critical roles. Here are some strategies that can be used to monitor the progress of potential candidates:

  • Performance Reviews
  • Succession Planning Meetings
  • Feedback
  • Skills Assessments
  • Job Simulations

Through this, you can ensure that your succession plan remains on track and that your organization is well-prepared for the future.


5. Review and Update Regularly

Creating a succession plan is like planting a tree – it requires constant care and attention to ensure its growth and survival. As your organization evolves, so too must your succession plan. Regularly reviewing and updating your plan is crucial to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

Changes in the external environment can also impact your succession plan. By staying vigilant and adapting to changes, you can ensure that your organization remains strong and competitive in the face of any challenges. 


How We Can Help You

One of our recent successful projects involved working with a large housing authority. After conducting a survey, we identified that employees were looking for career advancement opportunities. To meet this need, we developed and implemented a pilot program, which was well-received!

In terms of small business owners, who often don’t have a succession plan- we can speak how to define what a successful successor should look like, how to pick them and how to train them. Because we focus on building positive work cultures, we always see this as a culture building opportunity to make sure your successor will meet and honor your company values and retain talent that business owners took time to build. 

By prioritizing succession planning as part of an overall talent management strategy, HR and organizational leaders can help ensure their organizations are prepared for the future and remain competitive and agile. Give us a call and let us help you future-proof your business!

PS – Check out Catherine’s LinkedIn Learning course, Administrative Human Resources that we made free for 24 hours!

Incivility, bullying, and harassment occur because the culture allows them to. Before starting inclusivity initiatives, you’ve got to stop bad behavior. Take this assessment to determine if your workplace fosters a positive culture.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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