Succession Planning : Overview

Jan 13, 2024 By Triston Martin

One of the finest things you can do to ensure the continuity of your firm and the protection of your intellectual capital is to initiate a succession plan. If you lose a key employee, you'll have an internal candidate who is well-prepared for the position and ready to step in right away.

A lack of focus on developing future leaders may wipe out $1 trillion per year from the S&P 1500 and result in unfavorable levels of CEO turnover. Businesses will do better if they initiate succession plans for key employees far in advance of when they will be needed. This guarantees continuous company operations with no unexpected downtime.

Let's go through the importance of succession planning, the steps to take while developing one, and Why Succession Planning Matters.

What Is Succession Planning?

To find out who will take over key positions in a company in the future is an essential part of succession planning. The employer is looking for potential replacements in case an existing worker is transferred or decides to leave.

Organizations often begin planning for a new leader 12 to 36 months in advance, giving that person the time to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the post. Longer succession plans, with at least a year's notice, are typical for executive positions.

Important Steps of Succession Planning Processes

Succession planning is most effective when it is strongly embedded in the culture of the company. You can't just spend your lunch hour studying the organizational chart and get back to work. Planning for a company's future leaders should be a continual process, with a strategy that can be adapted to changing circumstances and yields measurable outcomes.

Succession plans need continuous reviews and updates to account for shifting needs and priorities. In order to make sure they are up-to-date, you should review them every six months to a year. We need to go over the various phases of succession planning.

Step 1: The first step is to develop a plan.

Step 2: Make a list of all Possible Successors

Step 3: Keeping Applicants Updated

Step 4: Create a Plan for Succession

Step 5: Go to a test drive.

Step 6: eliminate the employment gap

Step 7: Carry Out the Change

Why Succession Planning Matters

Succession planning is essential for numerous reasons and may help minimize dangers to a company's bottom line.

The Best Possible Leaders May Be Chosen Through Succession Planning

Finding future leaders in your company takes more than just looking at their resumes. With the use of succession planning, a board may identify intangible factors beyond technical expertise that make for effective leadership, such as:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Dedication to the mission and vision of the company
  • Performance in the Past

The board may choose the most capable leaders from inside the organization with the help of a well-thought-out succession plan, which also allows for the provision of further training and coaching, if necessary. Making succession planning a central element of the company culture can help relieve the concerns of insecure managers. Nonetheless, it can be challenging for boards to incentivize executives to continue working on succession plans when they are tied to financial rewards. Everyone in the company has to be on board with succession planning since it is in the best interest of the business as a whole.

The Organization Will Have Fewer Problems with Hiring and Paying Employees Fairly

CEO pay has skyrocketed in recent years. A lack of a structured succession plan can make this situation even more precarious since executives from competing companies may demand higher pay in order to leave the safety of their existing positions. Internal hiring offers several benefits, but one of the most significant is that it allows businesses to select a candidate who is already familiar with the company and won't waste time learning about its culture and values. A new leader may step in and begin serving almost immediately.

Makes It Easier to Keep the Brand’s Image Consistent

While innovation is crucial to a company's success, it also has the potential to damage the reputation of the brand. As it takes time to fully integrate into a culture, a company's new executives won't yet share its values or understand its identity. As a result, a change in management at an organization might unintentionally dilute the firm's core values and mislead its clientele. Taking internal promotions considerably lessens the possibility of brand confusion.

Reduces Investors’ Worries

Changes in leadership can cause fresh worries among investors. Investor confidence is boosted when they see that a business is making preparations for its future leadership. A succession plan is the result of teamwork, and its existence shows investors that the business is ready to work together in any situation.

Provides a Road Map for the Company’s Future Growth and Success

Boards might benefit from thinking about potential leaders in a broader sense when formulating strategy. It's a way to map out a plan for development and innovation in the future by assessing potential threats and developing strategies to address them. Succession planning may be used as a jumping-off point for discussions about training new team members, bridging skill gaps, and improving the overall effectiveness of the group as a whole.

Guidelines for Succession Planning

Consider these guidelines when you design your company's succession strategy.

Make Plans Ahead of Time

Succession planning is not something that should be done in response to the possible departure of a key team leader but rather in advance. It's important to keep in mind that developing a solid succession plan might take as much as three years of deliberate preparation and training.

Identify Important Roles Right Away

Think about who among your present employees is the most important and how their departure might affect your business. Then, begin working on long-term succession plans for those positions, which go beyond the next logical step in the organizational chart.

Communicate Openly and Honestly with Your Employees

It's important to have open conversations with your talent pool regarding their professional aspirations and to demonstrate your faith in their abilities without making any specific job offers. The next step is to have weekly one-on-one meetings with their boss to discuss their training progress and how it fits into the larger framework of performance management.

Make Training More Inclusive

This includes a wide range of individuals with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and opinions through deliberate DEIB activities.

When developing a succession plan, think outside the box regarding who to train since new ideas and perspectives can be just as useful as years of experience. Put your leaders through unconscious bias training and encourage them to develop inclusive leadership abilities.

Consult with Professionals

When you are unsure of anything, count on your network of support. For instance, do those in leadership roles at your company consult with career coaches who can provide them with direction and advice for their professional growth? Do you provide executive coaching to high-potential employees who are eyeing the C-suite?

In what ways do your top executives have access to training and education opportunities? In what ways are you facilitating your managers' professional growth?


Succession planning, in general, is crucial for every organization. Consistency is easier to achieve, efficiency is increased, and a culture of developing leaders is encouraged. Investing in long-term planning helps businesses be ready for whatever the future may hold.

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