Corporate Succession Planning – The Risk Isn’t Just at the Top

When most people think of succession planning, they usually think about what to do when a founder or other key executive moves on. However, all businesses have risk beyond just their senior personnel making an exit. What about

all those junior managers and supervisors? How much money and time has been invested in their knowledge? In many ways, this risk is as big if not bigger — especially if they are the kind of people you want on your team.

According to the Cornerstone OnDemand/Harris 2012 U.S. Employee Report, 66% of employees report that they have received no training or development to help them better perform their job. So best case, the business is growing and there are vertical opportunities for your go-getters. More often, they are gaining management experience on your dime only to seek opportunities elsewhere once they realize limited vertical potential in your organization.

What are you doing to minimize this risk? Here are 3 steps you can take today.

1. Develop a management development plan. Take the time to put together a management development program or work with someone to develop it for you. The process should be formalized so that the results are predictable. This also helps create a common language and reference point for your management team.

2. Hire right. While that sounds easy enough, I’m consistently amazed at the number of organizations I see with a lack of management potential on their bench. Good organizations hire for cultural fit and technical ability. Great organizations add to that drive and future management potential.

3. Start training them now. Hopefully you’ve heard the expression “dig your well before you are thirsty.” This is true in management and supervisors too. Often the most technically proficient employee is thrown into a management or supervisor role when an opening appears. While they may have technical credibility with their peers, unless they’ve been equipped with management and leadership skills, they will soon frustrate both you and their reports.

While it is absolutely important to plan for the exit of a company executive, it is just as important to have a plan in place to develop that next generation of talent — BEFORE you need them.

2 thoughts on “Corporate Succession Planning – The Risk Isn’t Just at the Top

  1. Grooming “talent” should be an essential part of a company’s plan. Having in place trained and qualified individuals that can keep your company momentum going when the existing workforce retires is just good business. What better way for this to be accomplished than for your current workers to “mentor” new ones?!

    Thanks for a great and thought provoking article!


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