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By Market Intelligence Team

Are you coping with an opening in a senior leadership position? Is there a plan in place to replace your CEO? How about other key leadership and management positions?

Many of our clients are also facing these decisions or soon will be. Watson Wyatt Research reports that only 24% of organizations they surveyed are confident in their ability to fill leadership positions in the next five years. With an aging professional population it is estimated that 20% of the best known companies in the U.S. expect 40% of their senior executives to retire in the next five years!

In my work with our clients, I have found that both clinical and administrative jobs have become more complex, and that job requirements and responsibilities are continually changing. There is also intense competition (from both inside and outside the industry) for high-performing or specially-skilled employees, making it harder to both find and keep staff with the competencies and knowledge that will be needed to lead our organizations into the future.

I recommend that you view succession planning as an on-going process, designed to ensure that your organization has leadership continuity in mission critical positions. Succession planning is not just about replacing the CEO, it is about ensuring that all key management positions are filled with the qualified staff.

Here are the steps we recommend for implementing an effective succession planning process for your organization:

  1. Conduct an organizational management team assessment

  2. Modify/develop competency-based position descriptions for management team members

  3. Evaluate individual management team members

  4. Assess management team competencies from an organizational perspective

  5. Develop a management team development and recruitment plan

  6. Conduct a periodic update – evaluate in terms of success in improved competencies and employee performance

For a detailed review of the six steps and more, click here for Building Your Team’s Management Competencies: Assessment, Skill Building & Succession Planning, a presentation I facilitated at The 2008 OPEN MINDS Best Management Practices Institute. This presentation is free for the next thirty days to members of The OPEN MINDS Circle. Not a member? Click here for easy registration.  

M. Colleen ElmerExecutive Vice President and Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS  

P.S. Premium Circle members may also wish to read my colleague’s article, “Succession Planning in Behavioral Health & Social Service Organizations: How to Ensure Continuity in Critical Leadership and Management Positions.” Click here to access this OPEN MINDS monthly management newsletter report by Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M., Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS, which includes a case study in a comprehensive leadership transition. To learn how to become a Premium Circle member, click here.

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