The best leaders think carefully about what will happen when they leave. Because at some point they will. It seems pretty simple yet many organizations prefer to ignore that fact. Whether the departure is planned or a surprise, early planning can help ensure a smooth, or at least a smoother, transition.

What is succession planning?

Succession planning is an ongoing process where organizations identify and groom high performing candidates for key positions. You want to support and develop your talent pipeline. A few questions you may ask: Who are our internal rock stars? What do they need to become our next generation of exceptional leaders?

Why is succession planning so important?

If you don’t appreciate and support your talent, another organization would love to have them!

Of course, you may not have the internal bench strength to groom for future leadership. So, while you are looking inside, also look outside. Who are the stars in your industry or community?

A few tips to make your succession plan a little less daunting:
1. Review your talent pool regularly.
2. When you are hiring, consider candidates for their future leadership potential.
3. Make it a priority to develop your staff.
4. Link your succession plan to your strategic plan (and keep your strategic plan up-to-date).
5. Identify the competencies that are most important for your leadership.
6. Understand your culture and link leadership with culture.

Some questions to ask:
1. Who owns the succession planning process?
2. What positions need a succession plan?
3. Are there strong internal candidates?
4. Would you benefit from interim leadership?
5. What criteria will you use to select a new leader?
6. Is the current job the same?

Strong leaders want their organizations to be strong and sustainable when they leave. And you can start by thinking about the future today. Succession planning is important. We think about it a lot. Reach out to us if you want to talk more about it with us. We’d love to hear from you at