TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - As the boomer generation gets ready to retire,
the words 'succession planning' are on the lips of CEO's and business owners
across the country - or they should be.
"You only need to read the business pages to know that not having a plan
for succession can be a serious liability, yet companies seem to get hit from
behind time and again," says John Szold, managing director, Caliper Canada.
Succession planning not only ensures a continuity of leadership but it
supports future growth through the retention and development of a company's
brightest talent. According to Caliper Canada, a psychometric assessment and
consulting firm, effective succession planning can also be the key to
increased motivation, performance improvement and a seamless transition from
one management team to the next.
John Szold has identified some of the key challenges organizations face
in what he calls the Seven Deadly Sins of Succession Planning:
1. The job is for life - The most common error organizations make is to
assume that everything will remain the same. With no specific plans
for succession in place, the inevitable can trigger a crisis. On the
other hand, the development and implementation of an effective
succession planning process can turn a potentially negative scenario
into a positive opportunity of change and internal advancement.
2. What this place needs is more people like me - Leaders who hire or
promote in their own self-image run the risk of creating a band of
"Mini-me's" rather than a well-balanced team in which the challenges
of one member are balanced by the strengths of another. Many
successful leaders, such as John Risley of Clearwater Fine Foods,
have attributed their success to surrounding themselves with
individuals who have complementary skills and strengths.
3. What this place needs is new blood - Bringing in new people may
"shake things up" but it can also demotivate the individuals who have
been contributing for years by robbing them of their opportunity to
shine. Before adding "new blood" to the team, assess the skills and
potential of existing employees - the company's next CEO may be
languishing in another role.
4. Managing 'things' qualifies you to manage people - Promoting the best
functional specialists without assessing and bolstering their
management skills can be a recipe for disaster. By implementing a
process to identify which of these performers have the potential to
be effective people managers, business developers, or project
leaders, organizations can ensure that their best people grow and
develop into roles that play to their strengths.
5. Let's keep this to ourselves - Identifying high potential candidates
for future leadership roles is the first step, but not letting them
know about it is a mistake. Not only do companies run the risk of
losing top performers to a competitive job market, but they also miss
a valuable opportunity for development. An effective succession
planning process can encourage and motivate high potential employees
to aspire to advancement.
6. Everyone wants to be a senior exec - Not all managers want to face
the stress of a leadership role. But these same managers can be a big
asset to an organization. They can become excellent mentors and
experienced resources within the organization - especially in times
7. Blood is thicker than water - Just because a son or daughter is in
line to take over the family business doesn't mean they're qualified
to be an effective leader. Call it the third generation curse but the
truth is some well-known Canadian families, such as the Thomsons,
have managed to pass their company from one generation to generation
successfully while others, such as the Eatons and the Westons, have
had bigger challenges.
Another common succession planning sin is the assumption that businesses
and marketplaces are static. Szold adds, "Many organizations work under the
notion that 'nothing ever changes.' They assume that the competencies and
traits needed to run the business five years from now are the same as they are
today. But the entrepreneurial leader who successfully built a company from
the ground up, may not have what it takes to run a bigger, more established
company five or ten years down the road."
In contrast, suggests Szold, an effective succession planning process
actually matches an organization's available talent to its future needs. And,
by approaching and implementing succession decisions in a systematic way,
crises are avoided and continuous performance improvement is reinforced.
About John Szold
John Szold, managing director and lead consultant in Caliper Canada's
Strategy and Organization Development practices, is an expert in succession
planning and performance management. Over the years, he has managed strategic
change initiatives in such large organizations as Petro-Canada, Engel Canada
and a host of owner-managed businesses. John holds an M.B.A. and B.B.A. from
the Schulich School of Business, where he currently lectures in Marketing and
Strategy at the post-graduate level. He has also been appointed an Adjunct
Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto where he
teaches Health Services Marketing.
About Caliper Canada
Caliper is a psychometric assessment and consulting firm based in Toronto
that helps organizations hire the right people, manage individuals most
successfully and develop effective teams. Caliper works with organizations to
develop and implement effective succession planning. In addition to
identifying future managers and leaders, Caliper helps bring about development
strategies that enhance future leaders' potential for growth and success.
A global organization, Caliper has assessed the potential and motivation
of more than two million individuals and advised over 25,000 organizations
worldwide. Clients range from large multi-national corporations to major
league sports teams to start-ups and entrepreneurs.
For further information:
For further information: Melanie Rockliff, Palette PR, (416) 703-9859,
ext. 14, firstname.lastname@example.org