Jul 22, 2008

Succession Planning does not mean getting carbon copies

The SuccessFactors blog talks about a common problem:

76% of all companies in the survey were found to have some kind of succession plan in place, yet 40% of companies lacked any process or capability to identify future talent. You simply cannot identify successors effectively, if you do not have a regular process in place to identify talent within your company. Talent reviews should be the starting point, not the end point of the process. Managers should have plenty of tools to help identify talent. 360 reviews, performance reviews, and competency assessments can all be used to make reasonable assumptions about the potential of an individual.

My view is that successors are identified not by looking at competencies, but who seems more like the current leader. That is a disastrous way to go about it.

Look at people who can get results, and not those who work like the current leader. That is why often a successful CEO when he/she gives way to the successor - the business press usually exclaims "They have so little in common" (like Reginald Jones and his successor Jack Welch)

That's because those who do a thorough succession plan also take into account how things might change - and they know that to be successful in the future they do not need to replicate the blueprints of the past.

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