Succession Planning & the Butterfly Effect
Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple and the subsequent criticism for the company’s lack of transparency to its investors has put the importance of succession planning best practices into the spotlight. However, it is important to remember that succession planning is not just for CEO’s. Succession management programs implemented throughout an organization ensure continuity for key positions, retain and develop intellectual capital for the future, and facilitate employee readiness to step into new roles with seamless transition while addressing the need for critical backups when necessary.
The Butterfly Effect is a popular principle in chaos theory that states that in any dynamic system, small initial differences may over time lead to large unforeseen consequences. It would be safe to surmise, then, that lack of action can also have large unforeseen consequences over time. This concept applies to all aspects of life, and business. Organizations who want to continue to grow understand how The Butterfly Effect can have a positive or negative impact on their mission, and one component of the dynamic system is succession planning. Start by implementing these 5 small differences in your organization, and see how, over time, they have a positive impact:
- Conduct a talent audit. Identify the talent you have, and create talent pools based on the position, the person, or other specific criteria.
- Create a workforce plan. Know how many employees you have in a given job family and role, and what expected turnover and retirement numbers are.
- Develop a competency model. Identify core competencies and organize them into three categories: foundational, management, and leadership.
- Build a Talent Grid for Succession Planning. Focus on specific leadership competencies that must be developed in order for employees to become more valuable contributors.
- Design Individual Development Plans (IDPs). Include milestones, specific learning and development activities, and timeframe for completion.
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