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Succession Planning in 7-Steps

Updated: Dec 26, 2019

What is Succession Planning?

The process an organization goes through to identify and develop capable personnel within the organization that has exhibited the ability to replacement someone in a leadership position in the event that leader leaves abruptly, gets seriously ill, dies, or retires.

What Happens When there is NO Succession Plan?

When an organization fails to create a succession plan, they are usually caught off guard when key personnel leaves. This can cause a dismantling of the organization’s infrastructure, loss of revenue, and major customer service issues. This type of upheaval within an organization can create mistrust with financial stakeholders causing them to flee to preserve their investments. This includes donor, grantors, and sponsors.

How to Create a Succession Plan?

  1. Meeting with leaders and determining what the future needs of the organization could be.

  • Talking about succession planning when it is not an immediate issue is the best way to start preparing for the inevitable. People get a better job offer, move, get sick, and pass away all the time. The organization should always be prepared.

  1. Creating a job description of the current role.

  • Every role in your organization – leadership, and non-leadership should have a detailed job description. A great way to do this if it was never done is to have the person in the current role create a list of all of the responsibilities in that capacity.

  1. Create a written and/or video manual detailing how to complete specific task.

  • Creating training manuals help to make the transition much smoother, especially if the person who held the role before isn’t available to answer questions about how to complete a specific daily task. Since most people today like visuals, be sure to include screenshots or better yet, make the manual into a video file of someone actually performing the task.

  1. Have a conversation with current employees to find out where they see themselves with the company in the future.

  • When conducting performance evaluations, find out from your current employees where they see themselves in the organization in the future. Find out what their personal goals and aspirations are and whether or not they align with your organization’s mission, vision, and values.

  1. Start cross-training the people that you have identified.

  • If you identify someone within the organization as a viable candidate to assume a role in the event that the leader leaves, start cross-training them now, this way, they are comfortable and familiar with the task - aiding in a smoother transition. This also helps to fill the gap when that person is temporarily sick or on vacations as well.

  • Even if you don’t think that there is anyone in your employee that is a suitable candidate, it still behooves you to have someone cross-trained for the same reasons above.

  1. Do a trial run of the succession plan.

  • Have the person you identified, participate in a “day(s) or week(s) in the life of” to make sure that they are adept at completing the task efficiently.

  1. Use the plan as a roadmap to hire new talent.

  • If you cannot identify anyone within the organization to take over a leadership position, this is a great time to start looking for someone that will be able to fill the role if something happens.

You owe it to the success of your organization to be proactive when it come to creating a solid succession plan. “Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail.”

Does your organization need help getting their succession plan together? Did you have a mass exodus of key personnel and leaders? Are you feeling like everything is falling apart?

Let TVA Consulting help your put the pieces together to make sense. Let us come in and make you stronger than you were before.

Let’s chat!

Strategically Yours,

Tracy V. Allen

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