Leadership development: Succession planning should be drama-free

November 9, 2016 by Wally Bock

You’re the Vice President of HR and it’s Monday morning. You’re in a little early because the VP of Marketing, one of your rising stars emailed you on Friday and asked to meet today.

He’s there to tell you that he’s leaving the company to take a take a similar job with another company. You walk him down the hall to the CEO to see if she can work some of her sales magic on him, but she can’t. Now, what?

Scenes like that happen across the corporate world every day. One of two things will happen next. Sometimes there will be a smooth transition when you select a new VP of marketing from a group of qualified candidates. Other times there will be a lot of drama and hand wringing and a bit of panic while you and others try to figure out what to do next.

Leadership development and succession planning prevent drama

Leadership development is how you prepare people in your organization for increasingly responsible leadership positions. Succession planning is how you make judgments about who’s ready for a step up.

Leadership development and the sudden opening

A sudden opening should not trigger frantic discussions about who will step up. Your leadership development program should have prepared and identified people who are qualified. There’s a magic number here.

If you only have one person qualified to move up, that’s your choice and that may not be good. But if you have three or four qualified candidates you can choose one among them who’s the best choice for this position now.

Leadership development should be timely

If you do your job right, there won’t be any drama. When a sudden opening happens, you’ll have a process in place to select the person to promote from a limited number of qualified candidates.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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