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Succession Planning Essay

3353 words - 14 pages


The success of an organization depends on its ability to find people with the right skills who would occupy key and top leadership positions. Years ago, companies maintain highly-structured and secretive schemes which aim to identify internal successors for key posts. In the same manner, there are also those companies who resort to the aid of headhunters in order to fill in vacated positions in the top management level. Whilst the aforesaid succession strategies were relatively successful, the need to plan ahead has rendered them ineffectual (Cannell, 2009). The nineties marked the period of growing uncertainty, of increasing sped of change in the business environment and ...view middle of the document...

Succession Planning: An Overview

As earlier mentioned, succession planning pertains to the process by which internal people who possess the potential to fill key leadership positions in the company are identified and developed (Whitmore,2006). As a result, succession planning ensures the identification, development and long-term retention of talented individuals which are then of paramount importance to the development of the term. It has been argued that effective succession planning should not only be limited to management employees. Instead, in order to ensure its efficiency, succession planning must also be aimed towards addressing the need for critical backups and individual development in other job categories such as those in professional, technical, sales, clerical and production ranks. Given this, it is of utmost necessity that the definition of succession planning and management be moved beyond the management ranks.

Succession planning and management also aims to accomplish the following: (1) to match the organization’s available talent to the needed future talent; (2) to aid the organization in meeting its strategic and operational challenges; and finally, (3) to enable the organization to put the right people at the right places at the right times in order to do the right things for the attainment of the right results. The necessity of succession planning is therefore, not limited to the replacement of the Central Executive Officer but a necessity for leadership at every level of the organization. Succession planning and management is also deemed as an important tool for organizational learning. This is because it helps in ensuring that the lessons that the organizations learned are preserved in order to attain improvement in their work results. Undoubtedly, succession planning is a long term strategic initiative that is essential to each and every organization as it ensures its continued effective performance. Effective succession planning is then composed of four phases: Phase 1, establishing the scope; Phase 2, creating a succession plan; Phase 3, the implementation of the plan; and Phase 4, Monitoring, Evaluating and Revising.

In order to better understand the concept of succession planning, one must also look into the difference between the latter and replacement hiring. Traditionally, succession planning was reserved for family-owned companies. However, the term was eventually expanded so as to include companies whose plan was to replace the CEOs. Later on, succession planning has been accepted as a best practice by which organizations can replace their leaders as well as their employees who are occupying critical positions. It is in this aspect that it is very different from replacement hiring. Replacement hiring is a reactive process by which an immediate need is filled. On the other hand, succession planning is proactive, seeking to address the need before it actually exists (Perlman, 2010).

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