Planning for succession: What every executive needs to do

When it comes to senior roles within the organisation, having a robust succession plan is of critical importance. The stability and, ultimately, health of the business rests on having a smooth transition of a compatible successor to a role when the existing leader moves on.

While no two leaders (and their leadership styles) are the same, good succession planning will ensure that the transition is seamless for everyone within the organisation and that the new leader will “fit in” within the existing culture. Therefore, succession from within the company is often seen as preferable, though it should be noted that appointing someone from within is also no guarantee that the succession will be seamless.

Finding the right candidate for succession

Pinpointing the right candidate for succession is, naturally, the first priority in any succession plan. It’s important to understand that this doesn’t work like a standard job application – a good succession plan should begin months before the current leader even thinks of leaving. The idea is to allow for their successor to spend time shadowing them, getting to know the role and the minutiae of what the role involves.

A 360 degree feedback application can be an enormously useful tool in helping to narrow down the right candidate.

Firstly, it profiles the existing executive to understand how they are perceived by their peers and in doing so identify the personal and professional criteria that will be expected of the successor.
Secondly, it will identify areas for improvement, both in the role and within the skillsets of the successor, and in doing so help to establish a training and development regimen to undertake through the succession process.

Remember, while skills and experience are inherently important for succession – particularly for senior roles – what will ultimately determine the success of a succession is having a person that has a compatible set of attributes, aptitude, and attitude towards the job. You’ll want someone that will bring their own ideas to the table – else the business will stagnate – but you also want someone that will respect what their predecessor did with the role, and what made them a popular and respected leader.

Getting started with succession planning

The best-prepared businesses and organisations have succession plans in place before any announcement of the current leadership moving on. Why? Because dramatic things can happen in life, and the last thing a business needs is to have to try and fill a senior role that was suddenly vacated without an existing plan. Using a 360 degree feedback application as part of the annual review process to help identify and plan around succession is a good way to ensure the future health and viability of your business.

Contact MultiRater Surveys for more information on how our 360 degree feedback application can help with your succession planning.