In the theater, an understudy is a person who learns another’s role in order to be able to act as a replacement at short notice. Similarly, in business, we need succession plans to identify and develop new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die.

The decision to nominate individuals as high potential is no easy task. Unfortunately, these important succession planning decisions are often undermined by a lack of due diligence and vague criteria.

To get it right, the first step in creating a succession plan for top talent is to develop an understanding of your company’s challenges and industry trends. This is essential to discerning the skills that will be required over the next several years.

Once you have a list of challenges to meet and skills needed, you will need to identify internal candidates who may be able to grow into future roles. It is highly unlikely that you will have the perfect candidate to take over. Therefore, it is best practice to provide a development plan for your internal candidates. This might involve delegating certain tasks, providing training, or inviting candidates to sit in on meetings.

If you do not have any internal candidates, you may need to obtain the help of recruiters. Many companies bring a new employee in early to learn the ropes from the departing employee.

A best practice transition focuses on on-boarding the new employee and providing training and coaching for the first year on the job. And, it is important to develop measurable metrics and milestones for the new employee.

And, with any organizational change, you must have top management support and involvement, clearly defined, specific goals, and individual development programs.

The Lindenberger Group has worked with numerous clients in creating successful succession plans. Let us know how we can help you by calling 609 730 1049 or emailing us at today.