Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Succession syndrome

Almost every HR mob I've come across does some or other acitivty on the subject of succession planning and usually as part of a talent framework. The focus seems to be on finding a pool of candidates or an individual to fill in a position that falls vacant, and is critical to business. Whilst this is one aspect of business risk mitigation, it's not just about finding a successor to a role. Succession planning should be viewed as an organization's ability and preparedness to respond to a change caused due to planned or unplanned movement of people performing critical roles.

Depending upon the pressures and demands of external and internal business context, the organization needs to respond to the change. This may imply role or structural redesign, new business strategies and model, or rehashing work or all of these and other things. Treating these situations with a single lens of 'replacing the incumbent' may miss opportunities to do something more valuable. However this demands the ability to live and deal with ambiguity and nebulous concepts which defy the 'clarity' aspects of traditional succession models. For tangible value creation through sussession plans, HR needs to consider broader business implications and opportunities thereof.

On a different note, every individual is unique so logic suggests replacement would really be someone different, relative to the previous individual. All the more reason to look at the change from a different perspective !!!

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