12 October 2015
This entry continues a series of bog entries I like to describe as “Lessons from Andy”. Today’s topic is succession planning. I’m a fan of the old Andy Griffith Show, and when I went back and watched re-runs recently, I was struck by the life lessons and the business lessons that the show conveyed. I don’t suppose the writers were thinking about that, but in any case, I think the show is fun to watch with an eye toward business. So, here’s another whimsical yet serious look at what all business owners can learn from watching the Andy Griffith Show.
In the very first episode of Season 1, entitled, The New Housekeeper, Opie’s housekeeper is off to get married. Andy’s Aunt Bea – who raised Andy – is coming to replace her, but Opie won’t give her a chance.
The business lesson I take from this is that businesses ought to have a succession plan to replace key personnel. Elements of a strong plan include:
- Have a means to identify replacements (either internal or external) for key positions
- Provide leadership experiences for internal candidates, grooming them for the day when they may be asked to step up to a higher role
- Engage current leadership in the succession planning process – leverage their expertise
- Build a database of candidates and qualifications
Actions you can take today include:
- Identify which critical roles or positions in your company are the top priority for a succession plan
- Create a written succession plan for those critical roles
- Evaluate and review those plans on an annual basis
Learning Meets Quality LLC has its own spin on succession planning. From a Learning perspective,
- Document the proficiency expectations for the key roles in your company
- Give regular performance feedback to candidates you are grooming for leadership roles
- Link those performance objectives to the goals of the organization
From a Quality perspective,
- Establish valid and relevant performance metrics for critical roles
- Report the data on those metrics to leadership
- Apply continuous improvement principles to your succession plan process, including Management of Change
What are the key elements in your succession plan? How does succession planning preserve your company’s intellectual capital? Feel free to add your comments below.
Contact LMQ for access to our do-it-yourself Risk Assessment tool which you can apply to your organization’s succession planning process.