The Secrets of ‘Succession’ Planning
‘Succession’ – a cracking tv series that is rumoured to be based on the Sky Murdoch empire. Dog eat dog. A race for power. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. This brings me to this month’s soft skills topic – Succession Planning.
Not the most interesting of topics and easily ignored, as demonstrated by the fact that most companies don’t have a succession plan. And why should they? With COVID, cost price increases, and a conflict in the East, there are other priorities. Yes, and there always will be.
I’m not here to tell you to begin succession planning and intellectually I know you know why you should have one. My task is to make it easier for you. Starting with 3 simple questions that will ‘get the snowball rolling down the hill’. Let’s start at the top of the company – the board, and the first question…
‘Who Might Leave/Move on/be Promoted?’.
- Who is likely to leave the Board level in the next 6 months? Ginger Spice.
- Who is likely to leave the Director level in the next 6 months? Sporty Spice.
- Who is likely to leave the Senior Management level in the next 6 months? Scary Spice.
Then, the second question:
‘Who Could Take Their Place?’
- Who can take Ginger’s place? Paul.
- Who can take Sporty’s place? Ringo.
- Who can take Scary’s place? George
Then, the third question:
‘What Gaps in Behaviours/Skills do the Succeeding People Have?’.
- Paul needs to know how to dance like Ginger Spice.
- Ringo needs to play a sport like Sporty Spice.
- George needs self-confidence like Scary Spice.
Click on the image below for a larger image:
Final Words on Succession Planning
No excel, no template and no big plan. An A4 sheet of paper – Your succession plan has begun. Then repeat the 3 questions every quarter, ensuring that the gaps in behaviours and skills are being addressed by the successors with a simple personal development plan. A point to note, sometimes the succession is not about levels.
At Sainsbury’s, we had a cheese grader. Clive. A lovely old guy that knew things about cheese that would compete with Wikipedia. He retired. On the day he did, after 40 years of cheese-ing, people attended a sampling session with him to ‘get his knowledge’. They didn’t. A – That is not good succession planning and B – Some people are critical regardless of their level.
*Note: No band members were harmed in the development of this succession plan.
This article on Succession Planning was written by Darren A. Smith for The Grocer.