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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Succession Planning - A Bigger Solution Than You Might Think

by Martin Haworth

Many companies make it a policy to "hire from within," which is a way of saying that a person can start out on the ground floor of a company and eventually work his or her way up and possibly someday become the company's CEO.

One way of keeping this process possible is by a method called "Succession Planning." Succession Planning is the way a company both promotes its employees and makes sure that it is never caught in the lurch, with a gaping hole in the system.

Succession Planning Benefits

Holes in the hierarchy can create disastrous effects in a company's productivity. This is why it's a good idea to hire from within, so that the only sudden openings are in the lower positions that are easily filled.

One of the aspects of succession planning, involves looking over each position periodically and evaluating the person who holds it and the person who is "next in line" - and making sure that everything is running smoothly that both the person currently holding the position is working well and that the person poised to take over could transition smoothly and minimize disruption.

This is a process that typically takes place in the higher levels of management and is important because the time and effort that goes in to training and grooming a successor can take years.

Senior Management Succession Planning

Examples of Succession Planning include the replacement of Jack Welch, the former Chief Executive Officer of General Electric. Prior to his retirement the Board of Directors at General Electric went through a lengthy process of evaluating possible successors.

Succession planning often involves recruiting people and then working with them to develop their skills and making sure that they are ready to advance.

It also involves making sure that the recruit knows what the company's goals are, and involves active planning to keep that recruit happy. A happy recruit is not likely to leave the company suddenly.

Succession Planning Maintains Strategic Direction

Another aspect of succession planning is making sure that the higher powered executives within the company know what the goals and ambitions of the company are, and making sure that everyone is up to date on hiring practices and market trends in their industry.

By keeping the company competitive, the executives won't have to worry about whether or not they are still relevant.

Succession Planning is important to the overall health of an organization and care should be taken in the hiring process to make sure that all employees hired or recruited can be groomed and trained to move up within the company's ranks.

By hiring from within, the company gives people an incentive to want to work there. It also ensures that the company's public reputation stays uniform and competitive.

A competitive company is much more likely to be successful than one that doesn't make an effort to compete at all.

About the Author

(c) 2007 Succession Planning Toolkit. Want a free e-course? Then sign up with a blank e-mail to For more on developing and build an easy to run business, you need to develop your people well. You can find out how, right here, on Martin Haworth's fascinating website at

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