Succession Plan

Succession Plan

The Succession Plan is a strategic tool that allows the identification and preparation of professionals from within the Organization to possibly occupy key positions in case of need. Before we talk about what to do, let’s see what not to do when it comes to Succession Plan.

What Not To Do

  1. Putting the cart before the horse: If the Organization does not yet have a good team of managers, or, has important opportunities for improvement with weak managers who must be replaced, people should not spend energy with Succession. Before thinking about succession, the Organization must obviously think about the current occupation of positions, this is a priority. If you do not have a current team of competent people, do not waste time thinking about succession, because it is not yet the moment;
  2. Treating the Succession Plan as a Project: A project is characterized by having beginning and end, and a succession plan begins, but has no end. The succession plan should be treated as one of the facets of people management, the responsibility of the Human Resources area of the Organization, as well as recruitment and selection, benefits policy, job and salary plan, among others;
  3. Believing that a consultant can find the right people: Who can find the right people, the people who can be prepared to be on the succession plan, is the top management group and the first-line management group of the Organization, no one else. A consultant, like the HR of the Organization, can help advise on a number of aspects, but the consultant can hardly determine names for the succession plan, simply because they do not follow the professionals on a day-to-day basis.

What To Do

  1. Assigning responsibilities: It is the Human Resources (HR) area of the Organization that has the responsibility of coordinating the Succession Plan, as it is one of its typical tasks. In addition to HR, a support group should be defined, which should consist of managers who hold senior management positions;
  2. Defining key positions: When dealing with a formal Succession Plan we must clearly state what the key positions will be in, i.e. those positions for which we want to have potential successors. Of course, I recommend starting in a very focused way in the most strategic jobs, or difficult to replace. This identification must necessarily involve the CEO and HR, but also the support group;
  3. Identifying potential successors: Professionals within the Organization who have the potential to assume key positions should be identified. And again, the team that should meet includes the CEO, HR, the support group, and the current occupants of key positions. Here, it is important to clarify the following: there will be divergence, which, in a way, can be positive, since divergence leads to reflection. Who should mediate this discussion is HR, and when consensus is not reached, the CEO must judge and decide. But one point should be clear, who has the best vision is the current occupant of the position, therefore, special attention should be paid to his opinion.
  4. Inviting the candidates: Each of the identified professionals must be officially invited to join the Succession Plan so that once they accept the challenge, they can be prepared for the development that will follow. It is important to make it clear that being a possible successor does not mean that he will necessarily be chosen as a successor.
  5. Identifying the training needs: Once the professionals have been identified, the training needs of each one must be raised, obviously taking into account the key position for which he was identified as a possible successor.
  6. Programming and executing the training: In order to develop the possible successors, according to the need for training already mentioned, it should be programmed, on an adequate basis, and execute the training, in the most smooth possible way, since, in a scale of priorities , this is usually the smallest when compared to the day-to-day operation.
  7. Analyzing Critically: At a relevant frequency, the succession committee (CEO, HR, support group, and current occupants of key positions) should meet to make a critical review of the Succession Plan and its most relevant aspects, such as: trainings, evaluations, behaviors, etc., defining the actions that they deem appropriate to keep the plan practical and useful.

I have to recognize that it is not any Organization that will benefit from a Succession Plan because, as I said, there are those who have not even established a team of positive and competent managers, and in that case, they will have enough work to find good managers for current positions. Other companies may not have the due maturity to deal with a Succession Plan, since before developing a successor the Organization must be able to be developing the occupants themselves through an extensive and regular skills development program that shows good results.

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