Strategic Succession Management Process

Note 1: Steps are in approximate order. Some organizations may have one or more steps already in place.

By T. Nick Fenger, Ph.D,
© Copyright 2007

  1. Establish Senior Executive Commitment.
  2. Communicate Management Development Initiative
    Note 2: Communication should include executive commitment, order of implementation of steps and criteria for evaluation of process as rationale for its initiatives, timeline for steps to be put into place.
  3. Define Organizational Business Objectives
    Note 3: Business objectives should include estimate of number and job titles of position replacement needs for at least five years, sales goals, capital investment needs, new product development, etc.
  4. Assess Adequacy of Senior Executive Development Modeling, Roll and need for leadership
    Note 4: Executives should effectively model development skills for direct reports as well as effective management and leadership skills.
  5. Assess Adequacy of Director and Manager Coaching Skills
    Note 5: Director and Managers should be evaluated for commitment to development as well as effective use of coaching skills.
  6. Define Professional Management Skills
    Note 6: Considering organizational objectives, individual development objectives should be specified such as technical, marketing, sales, leadership management, and interpersonal skills. These definitions should guide assessment and development initiatives.
  7. Determine Total Organizational Learning and Development Efforts
    Note 7: All development efforts should be cataloged including external and internal training, tuition remission, etc., for notation in development inventory data bank and consideration for individual development use.
  8. Determine Specific Development Objectives
    Note 8: All development efforts should be evaluated in terms of their contribution to succession objectives. However, company efforts should not be limited to succession objectives as non-succession candidates may need skill development as well.
  9. Outline Manager Accountability for Development Efforts
    Note 9: Accountability for developmental efforts in performance reviews, assignment of employees for training, project assignment and coaching skills, should be recognized in their own performance reviews, bonuses, parity, promotions, and other forms of company recognition. Note: An effective performance review process is essential.
  10. Establish Recruiting Needs Efforts
    Note 10: Recruiting efforts define categories and specific job titles to be filled externally. Efforts to define company culture should include manager interviews with future direct reports, compatibility with senior level hiring directions, providing information about organizational culture, determining external candidates interpersonal skills, and assessing external candidates compatibility with organization’s culture.
  11. Establish Assessment Process
    Note 11: Assessment of external and internal candidates should include definition of developmental directions in business and interpersonal skills as well as assessment of problem solving, communications, critical thinking, and orientation to strategic considerations.
  12. Establish 360 Feedback Process
    Note 12: 360 Feedback process should include evaluation of a cross section of business skills as well as the manner or character in which those skills are exercised.
  13. Establish Organizational Evaluation Process
    Note 13: Feedback from all employees should be satisfied regarding their personal development objectives (i. e., stay in job, next job move, and suggestions for development assistance) as well as skills to develop, level of challenge sought, etc. Immediate boss should confirm or amend developmental suggestions and job move in consultation with the employee annually.
  14. Create Development Inventory Data Bank
    Note 14: Inventory on individuals should include their history of positions, performance evaluations, career goals, 360 results, etc, to facilitate decision-making.
  15. Evaluate Program
    Note 15: Process should be assessed yearly and criteria for evaluation should include:
    1. How long do vacancies last?
    2. Are back-up replacements developed in time and to what level of adequacy?
    3. Do new employees fill appropriate roles with respect to organizational culture?
    4. Are performance standards upheld in recommending job change i.e., avoid job change for change sake?
    5. Does company bench strength increase?
    6. Does organizational performance increase? (sales, earnings/share, etc.)
    7. Is there an increased retention of high-potential employees?
    8. Does process account for key talent departures?
    9. Does process respect key talent needs?
    10. Are people left in place long enough to experience consequences of decisions made?
    11. Has process defined optimum level of opportunity for skill stretch? What kind of employees can be stretched and in what ways?
    12. Does replace ment planning absorb entire organization training effort?
    13. Does average employee receive attention and investment?
    14. Does process learn from failed moves?
    15. Does process mitigate movement risk?
    16. Does process concentrate on early rather than later moves?
    17. Does the process share the company’s vision with the individual?
    18. Does the process help the manager share talent or does it assist in talent hording?
    19. Can the individual add experience and personal vision to his record?

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