Oak trees and succession planning

May 10, 2011 by Wally Bock

Right Management just released results of an online poll of 1262 HR executives on the subject of succession planning at their companies. Here are some key findings from the news release headlined “Most HR Execs Give Mixed Grades to Leadership Pipelines.”

“Do you have future leaders identified for critical roles in your organization?

Yes, for all critical roles     6 percent
Yes, for most but not all critical roles    17 percent
Yes, for some critical roles    55 percent
No, not for any critical roles    22 percent”

Michael Haid, Right Management’s Senior Vice President for Talent Management, suggests that awareness of the importance of succession planning is growing, but that hasn’t translated into meaningful, widespread action. He notes that “A majority (57%) said succession planning had become a higher priority in the past year.”

Ok, then, here’s my first question. Now that half of you think that succession planning is more important than it was a year ago, what does that mean really?

If something is not important enough to act on, then it’s not important. If you really think succession planning is important you’ll spend time and other resources on it. If you don’t you won’t. Evidently, most of you don’t.

My second question is only for those who are actually going to do something about their succession planning. When are you going to start?

Oak trees and succession plans have a lot common. For both, the time to mature is measured in decades, not days. So, ponder Nelson Henderson’s advice to his son: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Talent Management

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  1. […] more about succession planning than actually do much about it. On Monday I posted on that in “Oak trees and succession planning.” Kevin Eikenberry knows all that, but suggests that you can still make a contribution to […]

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