Many organizations have been calling us to inquire about succession planning. If you are thinking about embarking on a succession planning project in 2012 / 2013, here is an overview of the steps we typically follow when conducting a project, and how we can help you get started. Step One: Risk Assessment
Our first step is to conduct a Karmichael Risk Assessment, a process for identifying your succession risks and what might derail your program. We have identified twelve risks that impact your ability to attract, develop and retain key employees in the future, and we rank each risk in terms of high, medium, and low. Your organization’s unique risk combination informs how we design the program, and where you will get the best return on your investment.
Step Two: Define Target Roles
Next we identify which roles we will target in the succession planning process. Our focus is typically on critical roles, roles that are important for business functioning now and in the future. We sometimes will focus on levels of roles, meaning we identify successors for all VP positions, or all Director roles.
Step Three: Identify Potential Successors
The process for identifying potential successors varies from one organization to the next, but it typically involves a talent review (a group forum for identifying potential candidates), meetings with potential incumbents, and objective assessments. Each organization defines “high potential” slightly different, yet a good baseline criteria is whether someone is engaged in what they are doing, and intends to stay with your business.
Step Four: Create Development Plans
For each successor, we identify their development gaps, and create a development plan. This includes tangible action steps, and a clear vision of success for the target areas.
Step Five: Create Accountability for Progress
You can have the best laid plans, but unless there is a structure for accountability, they may not happen. A success factor for succession planning is ensuring that you manage the talent pipeline with rigor and you hold managers accountable for supporting people’s development. We design these accountability mechanisms for you to ensure you manage your succession risks to the best of your ability.