This video outlines how to use typical succession planning approaches (e.g. the 9 box tool) to accurately identify high potentials.
- Imagine that one of your key executives suddenly decides to leave your company, and you don't have anyone ready to step into their shoes. Or, what about a costly mistake you may have made in promoting the wrong person? It happens more frequently than you may think. Luckily, this is where succession planning comes in. This process allows you to identify high potential employees to fill critical positions. Succession planning also focuses on how quickly the individual will be ready to take on a new role, and what it will take to help prepare them.
It also helps you differentiate high performers from high potentials. Identifying successors for current and future roles starts with a review of existing talent. This is where the talent review comes in, a key component of succession planning. Talent reviews not only help you identify high potentials, they also help you understand the strengths and development opportunities for these key employees. One outcome of the succession planning and talent review process is a development plan that may include mentoring, a new assignment or special project, or one-on-one coaching.
This development plan is specifically targeted at decreasing the time it will take that individual to be ready to step into a new role. For most organizations, something so vital as the succession planning process doesn't often get the time and energy it deserves. In fact, only 1% of leaders believe they have a strong succession plan. You don't want to find yourself in that 1% of companies. Take the time to identify who's ready for a promotion into key roles now, or those who might be ready in one, two, or five years.
The starting point for succession planning is to identify the roles that are critical to executing your business strategy. These may be roles at multiple levels, not just the executive level. When you have key positions outlined, you'll take a look at your list of high potentials to identify who might already be ready to take on the new role, or who may need additional development to become ready. Here's another tool to consider. Many organizations use the nine box grid as a way to start the process of evaluating talent, and identifying future leaders.
It's a grid that plots both performance as well as potential. Performance is the assessment of the individual's ability to execute and achieve goals. Potential is the ability to grow into new roles, learn quickly, and rise to new challenges. The combination of these two factors helps determine where the individual is placed on the grid. Individuals that you rate as having high performance as well as high potential are then candidates who become part of your succession planning process.
Using the grid is an easy, visual way to capture data about individuals. I've included an example of a nine box tool in the exercise files for this course. Once you've identified high potentials and how ready they are to step into new roles, the real work begins. First, check with them that your perspective on their career growth is aligned with theirs. Then, build a targeted development plan to get them ready for a move or promotion.
Update the plan frequently and use what you discovered in the talent review and succession planning process to make promotion decisions. Be sure to assess, track, and evaluate the progress of these individuals. Don't immediately think when a promotion is available that you have to go seek a candidate in the external market. Leverage your high potentials. It's less costly to the organization, and internal high potentials have a much better chance of being successful.
Once succession planning is in place, you'll be ready to make strategic decisions about the high potentials in your organization. You will be a part of that forward thinking 1% and will have a group of individuals ready to make a difference in the business.