Succession Management & Career Development are the Keys

I am currently working with several organizations that all face the same challenge. Where are my next leaders coming from? One has less than 15 employees, one with around 35, one around 750 and another well over 1,000. Yet all are asking questions and looking deeper and more seriously into Succession Management. This month’s article is designed to hit the highlights on a few critical things to keep in mind if you are facing the same challenge.




– Succession Management & Career Development are two sides of the same coin operating hand in hand.


– Talent must be CLEARLY aligned with the overall business strategy and business goals to achieve maximum success.


– Talent readiness means that the business must designate individuals designated for upward mobility, identify required skills, and establish a time line for development of those skills to ensure readiness to actually fill designated roles when needed.


– Engagement equals retention. An employee who clearly understands his or her career path is more apt to stay motivated AND to stay with the organization. Compensation has never been #1.


– Critical roles are the positions an organization needs to meet its key business objectives. These are not always just top down, exec level roles. An organization’s success is dependent on full understanding and ongoing awareness of a) critical roles and b) competencies. Competencies are the knowledge, behavior and skills that correlate with organizational success and performance. Example: Retail organizations identify customer satisfaction as a leading business driver and as a result, key competencies for them may include customer responsiveness, relationship building, account management, etc. What are your company’s key competencies, by position?


In other words:


  1. Identify and track high-performing employees
  2. Begin identifying and addressing knowledge and skills gaps
  3. Learn how or get help in coaching and developing employees
  4. Identify competency gaps AND strengths as well
  5. Assign training as part of succession planning
  6. Generate individual development plans as part of career-planning activities (in order to narrow any identified readiness gaps)
  7. Provide more than one way up in an organization, if possible. It’s not always a straight path.
  8. Not every valuable employee is destined for the C-suite. Create a career track for technical experts and non-management positions as well.


Organizations must get a clearer understanding of whether or not they have the right people with the right skills to fill critical roles. Based on current and predicted business and economic trends, those companies that actively coordinate career management and succession plan management most effectively will be the ones to survive and thrive.


With the right succession management and career development processes in place, you can empower both your organization and your employees!