Who’s Next? . . . A Practical Look at Succession Planning

Posted: August 17, 2011 in career
Tags: , , ,

The question of who will take over the organization occurs at some time in the life of any successful business. Do we really have the talent to meet these new challenges? Will it take a fresh set of eyes and ears to look beyond our present situation? Is our organization too “in-bred” to continue to advance without looking outside for new talent?

Excellent questions, all. In an extraordinary article by Marcus Buckingham published some time ago in Fast Company (August 2001, “Marcus Buckingham Thinks Your Boss Has an Attitude Problem”), he suggested that we should “stop looking outside for help.” Buckingham posits the interesting and quite convincing proposition that the solutions to your company’s challenges may very well be best met by the people already in the organization.

This is where Career Pathing should be invited to join the game. Numerous articles, blogs, tweets, etc., are being written on the concept of “employee engagement.” Getting good people, growing good people, keeping good people. Identifying the individuals that I have called workplace “Stars.” Ask yourself, who is more aware of the challenges and needs within the organization, those facing them each day, or someone who has never been with the organization?

This is not to say that bringing in new talent is never a good idea, but it is not always the best strategy. Buckingham encourages us to look to our own people first. An exceptional book I reviewed, Drive, by Dan Pink, speaks of the source of true motivation: it’s not the result of getting a corner office, a fat paycheck and a personalized parking space. True, lasting motivation comes from within, helping individuals identify and cultivate their best skills and most deeply held values in their work and life.

Career Pathing shows the employee that the organization sees them as much more than a piece of equipment to be used in what Frederick Taylor in the early 1900′s called the “one best way.” Seeking to inspire, cultivate and challenge the employee through assessment, coaching and professional development creates an engaged team member that seeks to do “what they do best every day.”

To quote Buckingham’s article one more time: “Talent is a multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield will be.”

Are you looking within your organization for succession candidates and taking direct action to develop them? You should be!

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