7 Simple Questions for Succession Planning

Who will take your place when you are no longer doing what you’re doing?  The truth is you won’t be in your current position forever.  So one of the greatest favors you can do for your organization is to equip someone for your role.  Typically we only think about succession planning for the senior leader of an organization, but disciplined organizations will drive succession planning beyond senior leadership. 

I was discussing this with a friend the other day and he jokingly suggested a method to get a leader thinking about succession planning.  He said, “You stick your finger up to their head and say, “I am going to shoot you and you have one minute to tell me two things: Who will take your place? And what do they need to know to do your job?”  Okay, while that may be a little extreme it makes a great point…we need to have a greater sense of urgency when thinking about succession planning. A leader hasn’t done his job if he only delivers numbers…he must deliver new up and coming leaders who know how to fill his or her role in the organization. So here are seven questions to think through as you think about your successor.

  1. What I am responsible for in my position?
  2. Who are the 1-3 candidates that have the potential to take my place?
  3. What core competencies do they need to develop in order to fill my role?
  4. What content (books, CD, conference, class) can I take them through in order to develop these core competencies?
  5. What assignments can I give them in order to give them the experience they need?
  6. Have I told these individuals they are candidates to be my successor?
  7. What are the next steps I need to take with these individuals in the next 90 days?

What steps will you take this week to begin finding and developing your successor?