5 Ways to Identify Your Understudy

Meeting

What would happen if the most important person in your company left tomorrow? It will happen, either unexpectedly or through foreseen circumstances such as retirement. If that person is you, then you would probably hope that you could move onto the next phase of your life without worrying that the company may cease, putting your former staff and colleagues out of a job.

Long-term continuity depends on solid succession planning, but many companies don’t start until someone’s departure is imminent. One survey shows that 52 percent of managers feel that their company would have to hire someone from the outside to fill critical role, as the internal talent pipeline isn’t producing suitable leadership candidates. Often, succession planning fails at the first hurdle: the identification of suitable candidates. Finding the right people is half the battle, so here are some tips for finding understudies for your most important people.

1. Define Your Company’s Leadership Needs

Succession is rarely a like-for-like swap. Leadership needs change as the company evolves, and the next executive may require very different skills from the person they replace. For example, an estimated 12 million of U.S. businesses are going to be impacted by the retirement of the baby boomer generation, many of whom founded those businesses. The people who succeed them are going to face an economy that is almost entirely digitally driven, so they will need to know how to manage digital disruption in a way that their predecessors did not.

2. Consider All Candidates Equally

We all have certain biases of which we may not even be aware. For example, a study by Harvard shows that 76 percent of people, both male and female still see men as being more career-oriented than women. Other, more particular biases can creep in, too. We may judge people without realizing, based on the school they went to or how they dress. We need an objective and transparent process for selecting potential leaders that helps remove preconceived assumptions. If not, the organization may overlook someone who has all the right attributes.

3. Look at Soft Skills and Intangible Qualities

Some people look great on paper. They have a great education and an impressive resume, but they cannot lead. Being a leader requires a number of qualities that are not always obvious, such as being an excellent communicator, having a strong strategic vision, the ability to engender trust, and being a creative problem-solver. It is easier to teach a leader the intricacies of a particular industry than to teach experience.

The Navy is great at moving people around, regardless the job training or the specialty? You know how to drive Navy ships? Great! You can run a ROTC unit. You ran a base? Fantastic, now go run an aviation squadron. The Navy knows that great leadership is great leadership.

4. Provide Opportunities for Development

The best way to assess a candidate’s suitability is to watch them in action. This means giving them a chance to prove themselves, usually by managing a team, a project or with a promotion. However, candidates need to be set up to succeed at these tasks. Offer them the training and support required to step up to the next level, and then give them a meaningful opportunity to test themselves. It’s during this kind of development process that tomorrow’s leaders will emerge.

5. Search Externally, If You Must

The reason to promote from within is that you want your successor to be someone who truly understands the values and culture of the company. However, sometimes you simply don’t have the right person on your team. If that’s the case, it’s better to look at the recruitment market now. Identify the gaps in your succession pipeline and recruit to fill those gaps.

Everyone moves on eventually, but that’s no reason for a successful business to falter. A great succession plan makes the company or organization even better.

Succession planning means a secure business future — even after you and all of the other senior leaders have walked off into the sunset.


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WeFox Group
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Wefox
Eric Breon
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vacasa CEO Eric Breon
Iterable
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Iterable
Marcus Persson
How Notch Achieved a Net Worth of $1.6 Billion
Stock Market
10 Stocks to Consider if You Like AMD
Stocks
The 20 Most Undervalued Stocks of 2020
AT&T
10 Stocks to Consider If You like AT&T
The 10 Safest Blue-Chip Stocks to Own in 2020
Portugal
The 20 Best Places In the World for Expats to Live
The 20 Best Places to Live in London
The 20 Best Places to Live in Sacramento
Fairway
The 20 Best Places to Live in Kansas
Delray Beach
The 10 Best Seafood Restaurants in Delray Beach
Gulf Shores
The 20 Best Hotels in Gulf Shores
Disneyland
The 20 Best Things to Do in Orange County for First Timers
Albuquerque
The 20 Best Hotels in Albuquerque
Awesome Used Cars
20 Awesome Used Cars for Under $10,000
2020 Tesla Model S
The 20 Most Long Range Electric Cars for 2020
lambo
20 Reasons to Consider Getting a Certified Pre-Owned Car
Best 8-Passenger Cars
The 10 Best 8-Passenger Cars for 2020
Rado Watches
The 20 Best Rado Watches of All-Time
Flieger Cockpit one 1 Aviatis watch day date Automatic 704.21.18 L.01
The 10 Best Fortis Watches of All-Time
Mahogany
The 20 Best Original Grain Watches of All-Time
The 20 Best Running Watches Money Can Buy