Develop Leaders with Succession Planning

Develop Leaders with Succession Planning Developing leaders is a top organizational development priority for every company. Effectively managing knowledge capital is especially important in highly competitive industries. Understanding and deploying a succession management strategy is an excellent way to manage your department, groom future leaders, and mitigate risk. Use Demand Metric's downloadable tool to identify and develop the future leaders of your organization.

What is Succession Planning?

Succession Planning is the process of identifying and preparing suitable employees, through mentoring, training and job rotation, to replace key players within an organization. From a risk management perspective, provisions are made in case no suitable internal candidates are available to replace the loss of any key person.

5 Levels of Employee Performance:

  1. Star Performer- this is the company prototype: very high performance and very high potential to be a leader. Stars always get their work done on time, operate at least one level higher than their current role, have influence outside of their department, and are acknowledged as a role model in their position.
  2. Strong Performer- these employees are very reliable and generally get all of their assigned work completed on time. Viewed as leaders, strong performers would be stars if their performance was consistently high, or if they had more potential.
  3. Solid Performer- generally, solid performers are dependable to reach their goals, but lack the raw talent to be effective leaders. The best strategy for this group of employees is to continue skill development to increase performance.
  4. Questionable Performers- questionable performers are having difficulty excelling for one reason or another. Typically, they are capable of performing at a higher level, but may be in the wrong position. Consider a lateral move here.
  5. Low Performers- every organization has a few low performers. If potential and performance are low, look at exit options. If performance is low but potential is medium or high, consider a reassignment of duties.
Action Plan:

  1. Understand Succession Management- use our downloadable to get a better understanding of your employee's performance and potential.
  2. Determine Vulnerabilities- evaluate your department from the perspective that you could lose any employee at any time. Staff members who are very critical to your organization need to either document their knowledge, or mentor the person who is likely to be next in line for their job.
  3. Evaluate your Department- use the Succession Management Matrix to evaluate the level of performance and leadership potential within your department. The goal is to have no Questionable or Low performers.
  4. Develop Staffing Plans- be honest with your staff about their potential in your organization. Spend more time with higher potential staff, and be clear that expectations are higher for those with high potential.
  5. Create Succession Plans- strategies such as job rotation, mentoring, and cross training, are effective methods for establishing a basic succession plan. Focus on key executives who may leave in the next 18 months, and communicate this as an opportunity for internal promotion.

Employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons. Don't be left holding the bag when a key member of your staff gives notice; use succession planning to effectively develop your staff and groom future leaders.


Jesse Hopps founded Demand Metric in October 2006 and is the active President & CEO, focusing on sales & product development. Prior to Demand Metric, Jesse worked as an independent consultant specializing in Internet Marketing and Business Continuity Planning. He began his career with the Info-Tech Research Group in London, Canada, where he helped contribute to their explosive growth. Jesse holds a business degree...

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