5 Best Practices for Succession Planning

People | David Rea| April 30, 2019

With manufacturing already experiencing a skills gap in the workforce, businesses cannot afford to put off planning for the future. Identifying, developing, and retaining top talent is vital to the long-term success of an organization, and thus needs to be a critical area of investment of time, money, and energy. Below are 5 succession planning practices to set in place for future stability and success.

Be Consistent

It is tempting to come up with new and creative criteria by which to judge future leaders. However, repeatedly the standard, proven, research based factors are better indicators and predictors of success. Development Dimensions International (DDI) has identified high-potential factors that include, among others, a propensity to lead, authenticity, passion for results, and receptivity to feedback. Clearly define what potential means within your organization, and then consistently look for those qualities.

Prioritize Diversity

Workforce diversity provides many benefits to an organization, but it is oftentimes overlooked in succession planning. It is easy to identify and develop people who think and act in line with current leadership, but this pigeon-holed approach is not necessarily the best. In today’s constantly evolving market, being innovative and showing adaptability are key attributes in strong leaders. For future success, think big, broad, and different, while seeking out a diverse pool of strengths, backgrounds, and personalities.

Widen the Search

Adopting a full pipeline approach to identifying high potential candidates will lead to greater success. By looking at all levels of talent, not just the senior most tier, manufacturers can begin the process of identifying and evaluating strong leadership potential across the board. This will not only increase the overall pool with which to choose from, it will help with retention of employees as they are built into and developed from an early stage within the company. Normalizing objective and level-appropriate assessments to identify potential across all levels will help to build succession planning into the culture of an organization.

Develop Talent Scouts

By empowering and equipping managers to identify potential leaders, companies can build a consistent pipeline of high potential candidates from all levels. In addition, with a shared and consistent understanding of potential, plus an ability to address personal biases while seeking out diversity, managers can be the internal talent scouts that put succession planning practices into effect.

Understand the Difference between Past Performance and Future Potential/Readiness

Performance is a vital part of evaluating someone’s leadership potential, but it cannot be the only predictor of success. Past performance cannot always be replicated at higher levels of challenge and responsibility.   Understanding and integrating potential – the likelihood of leadership development – and readiness – the degree to which a candidate can meet the requirements of a job – are key practices within a successful succession planning strategy.

Successful manufacturing companies need to view succession planning as a top priority within their organizational development. The 5 best practices mentioned above are core components of the Catalyst Connection Succession Planning strategy. Through a variety of services and tools, such as plan reviews, training workshops, executive coaching, and transition support, Catalyst can help to develop a strategy for identifying and building up the next generation of great leaders.