So far you have got a firm grip of succession planning – from its benefits to its close relationship with other talent management acts. Since you cannot unring a bell, it is better to equip yourself with better detector to pinpoint some myths revolving succession planning which can easily lead to errors or loose links in your succession process. Here is the survival guide for you to avoid being fooled.
Myth 1: What worked in the past will work in the future
You might think, if the predecessor is doing quite well, why not finding a successor whose personality and leadership style resemble the predecessor’s to continue deliver good results? In fact, you don’t hire a successor for where you are, you hire for where you want to be in the future. Therefore, you need to examine what is important for today and future’s need – skill sets, expertise and characteristics – to create a suitable profile for the successor in the new business situation.
Myth 2: Succession planning should be a secret activity that only HR and the executives know and own.
As mentioned in the discussion about Management phase, implementing succession plan is not a one-person job. And it is even worse that the “Potentials” have no idea about their progress, resulting in their demotivation and reduction in commitment with the programme. Transparency of information is vital for “Potentials” to proactively track and manage their own learning and development. You can leverage on Human Resources management system to store important information on the Potentials’ profiles, progress and achievements.
Myth 3: Succession planning is all about vertical development.
Vertical development is another way to refer to “promotion”. It’s true that promotion is the first thing to pop up in anyone’s mind when talking about succession planning. But many of your talented employees, who are the backbone of your company, might not have the desire to move up through the ranks. And you should always have more talents than vacancies. In this case, horizontal development is in the focus. You need to realise that despite their not being promoted, they are still very important to the organisation and it’s your job to retain and continue developing them as star performers at their current positions and in the best scenario, an excellent coach/mentor for other “Potentials” who are on their way with succession planning.
After all, succession planning is not a single note nor a song, it is an orchestra. All of the music instrumentalists need harmony to beautifully perform a sonata. It’s not a solo, but a smooth mix of all talent management acts – from recruiting, to management, development and retention. Since hitting a wrong note can potentially ruin the whole piece, preparations cannot be ignored.
In this ever-changing business world, it is hard to say whether keeping a talent is any less of a challenge than getting one. Succession planning, if properly executed, is undoubtedly an important factor to all talents when choosing where to flourish. A succession plan demonstrates the vision from the top and care for their most valuable assets – their people. Embrace succession planning and turn it into your undefeatable weapon for a considerable advantage in this talent war.