The world continues to spin faster. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt continue to be top of mind for virtually everyone (FUD as I call it). And to make things worse, competitors are getting very aggressive at poaching talent, and senior talent is retiring in record numbers. We knew this was coming. 20-years ago, Management Consultants were ringing the alarm saying that Baby Boomers held most of the big jobs and they would be gone soon. But… most business leaders that I know didn’t do anything about it and now they are in panic mode – especially if they have a highly skilled workforce and there was no Knowledge Transfer program.
Why Is Succession Planning Critical?
Well, there’s the obvious reason: Mitigating any potential risk you would have if you were to lose key people
But, succession planning also allows you to build greatness by:
- Helping you identify Rising Stars that you may have on the team
- Providing incentive to young talent that there are opportunities to grow their careers within the organization
- Identifying Training and Development that you need to source in order to get people ready for new, bigger roles
- Building a Roadmap for the future of talent in the business
- Cutting costs that you would have if you were to recruit from outside.
And, we all know the saying that the best time to plant a tree was 20-years ago. The second-best time is today (as in right now). So, let’s get to it!
Framework to Build a Succession Plan:
- Identify Critical Roles. Naturally, you might think the critical roles are the senior leaders. Not always, and these days rarely. Senior roles are easier to fill as retired Boomers are working in record numbers as contractors while drawing their pensions. The critical roles that I am seeing the struggle with are skilled workers, trades, and engineering. There has been very little happening in most companies around knowledge transfer and, younger talent is not all that interested in learning the trades. These are roles that would have: the biggest impact on revenue, the biggest impact on customers, a need for specialized or lengthy training.
- Do a Talent Inventory. Do an assessment of the Competence, Confidence, and Commitment of your current team to identify the gaps you have for the future. Identify actions for closing the knowledge gaps.
- Build Training and Development Plans for all. And I mean everyone. Some T&D plans may simply be that you identify some books for the team member to listen to. Others may go way deeper. It will help with budgeting – speaking of which, remember that people are the ONLY asset in the company that appreciate. Training and Development are usually the first to be cut when revenue slows down. Think of T&D as an investment in the future.
- Mentors. Your current organization is probably full of mentors that you have not utilized. It is hugely motivating for most senior talent to be recognized for their contribution and skills. Who better to be the mentors of future talent.
- Coaching. Coaches are usually found outside your organization. They are, like myself, full of battle scars from many years of experience and, like myself, LOVE to give back by coaching young talent.
- Be Careful About Cold-Storage Training. I am a big fan of classroom training as well. But… make sure that any classroom training you invest in is relevant, high quality and timely. There is nothing worse than dropping thousands of dollars on great training that won’t get put into practice for a year or so.
- Review, Revise and Relaunch… Often. Succession Planning is not a one-and-done exercise. It is something that you should be looking at on a quarterly basis. Communicate often about what the Succession Planning Process looks like and why.
Remember that your key competitors are constantly trying to figure how they are going to put you out of business. They are looking at your top talent and trying to steal them. Succession Planning is a mitigator to the risks and threats they are panning for you.
If you didn’t plant those trees 20-years ago, start right away!
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, connect with Robert on LinkedIn.
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Tags: Business Development
, Business Development Plan
, Business Growth
, Generations in the Workplace
, Leadership Coaching
, Robert Murray
, Robert S. Murray
, Succession Planning