Five Fast Ways to Implement
Effective Succession Planning Procedures

handing off baton

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

~ Zig Ziglar ~

Hans works for a multi-national company.  He was recently put in charge of a department where 10% of the workforce left in the next two months.  They either retired or moved to another job.  This left Hans scrambling to find appropriate replacements.

After the positions were filled, Hans vowed to never let this happen again. He created a Succession Planning Procedure.  These five steps made it easy for him to be proactive and prepared for any vacancy.

1. Identify Key Leadership Positions.  Hans identified those positions that were most critical. Which positions impacted the company’s core competencies the most?  What were the risks if those positions went vacant?  He drew up a list of vital positions.

Hans didn’t do this alone, he called in supervisors and HR to look at the job descriptions and assess them.  What is the function?  What responsibilities does this job have?  What authority?

Then Hans prioritized the leadership positions from vital to minimal impact.  “I considered the problems that would come if a job became vacant. And the learning curve for the replacement,” Hans said.

He factored in whether the current job holder was close to retirement. And he evaluated how marketable the employee was.  Did he have family or life events that made it likely he might change jobs?

2. Assess skills and qualities needed for these leadership positions.  Next in Han’s succession planning procedure, he had a Position Profile created.  What kind of education did this job need?  What level of experience?

He listed the core competencies essential to succeed in the job.  Did they need to be a team player? How vital was communication, innovation, or delegating responsibilities?

Within the Position Profile he listed the five essential competencies needed for each job along with other knowledge, skills, and desirable traits.

3. Evaluated current strength of potential leaders.  “I looked to see the depth of my bench,” Hans said. “How many employees on the sidelines are currently prepared to step into these jobs if needed?”

Hans looked over all his employees. Which ones had the skills sets necessary?  Which ones might be groomed to be able to step up to the plate?  How long would that take?  One year?  Two years? More?

Hans created a working list of possible successors for each job and added it to his procedure.

4. Designed Career Development Strategies.  Hans started working on the best prospects.   He first matched potential leaders with the job skills of the positions at greatest risk and with the highest level of company value.

He used the annual review time to discuss gaining the skills and competencies necessary to move up.  And he helped the employees set appropriate career goals.

Hans worked with his team to choose appropriate career development activities for these key employees. These included participation in vital projects, cross training, course work, working with a mentor, self-study or reading assignments, coaching, work related conferences, and leadership development programs.

“I told employees that participation in these activities was part of the company’s succession planning,” Hans said. “But I made sure they understood it did not guarantee they would be promoted.”

5. Monitored and Evaluated Strategies. Hans was determined not ever to be caught with a high priority talent gap again. He continued to monitor his succession planning procedure.  He reviewed the data on promising employees.

He requested feedback on the annual reviews and suggested monthly reviews to make sure the career development activities were producing the desired results.

“Once we made it a priority,” Hans said, “our succession plan came about quite quickly.  Already we’ve seen results.  First, we have a stronger team.”  He also felt the company would benefit with fewer vacancies, reduced time for new employees to get up to speed, and a general higher standard of workforce in his department.

Learn strategies to help you or your employees prepare to move up. Contact Joel for promotion help.

Talkback: What steps have you taken to set succession planning in place for yourself and your employees?

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How Can I get the Skills I Learn from Executive Coaching to Stick? How can I get that training to actually become part of me?

skills poster

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”

~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

Q:  Jamie asks:  I read lots of material on how to improve in organization, skill level, and leadership.  I work at it for a few days.  Then I find myself going back to my old way of doing things.  How can I actually change myself permanently?

A:  Coach Joel Answers: You ask a great question, Jamie. This is the secret to success in all walks of life:  Knowing how to take information and apply it in your life.

One technique is to take your Executive Coaching and train like an athlete. Athletes take their training seriously.  As you think of yourself as an “Executive Athlete,” you may be motivated to stick to your plan.

1. Think about it daily. Athletes make training a priority.  They think about it and plan time to practice their skill every day.  Calendar your training.  What can you do today to exercise your skills and train you to build the habits you want?

2. Make a commitment to train. You already know what you need to do.  This is a great step forward.  You have the desire to change.  That, too, is a valuable piece of the pie.  Now you need to make the decision to train every day.   Like an athlete, you will start small.

Too often, athletes… and executives… find a great skill and think they can master it immediately.  They train so vigorously for a few days that they are exhausted by the effort and stop training.

Instead, start at a deliberate, achievable pace.  Master one trait and then go on to the next.

3. Hire the best executive coach and follow his training plan.  Athletes don’t try to go it alone.  Most often great athletes work under skilled coaches.  You will find you progress more successfully when you have a coach at your side to help with your training.

An executive coach will keep you on track and make sure you take logical, necessary, and most meaningful steps.  They will cheer your progress.

4. Measure your success and improvement. Every great athlete has goals to reach.  They measure their progress toward those goals in milliseconds.  Measure and celebrate every increment of change you see in yourself.

Set benchmarks and standards.  Evaluate your improvement daily, weekly, and monthly. Soon you will see your habits of leadership developing.

5. Challenge yourself to do better.  Only you know if your pace is too easy or strenuous. Challenge yourself to become the best executive you can. Use coaching and training to help you reach this goal.  Don’t settle for okay.  Reach for the best you can be.

6. Take a set-back, learn from it, and move forward.  Know there will be setbacks.  Athletes get sick or injured and have to regroup and start training again.  There will be days you slip.  Don’t let one failure stop your training.  Get back up, give yourself a break for the moment, and get started again.

7. Reward yourself.  You may not earn an Olympic metal, but you can still reward yourself for your success in executive training.  You’ve followed your coach. You’ve seen success.  Celebrate!

When you take the challenge to change your habits, you’ve started on a new venture.  With executive coach training, you join the ranks of professional athletes. You establish goals, training methods, and measure your successes.  The end results are habits of leadership that will benefit you and your organization.

To jumpstart your executive coaching and become the executive athlete you want to be, contact Joel.

Talkback: What methods have you used to change knowledge into habits? Let me know.

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