Succession Planning is no longer a buzz word

While discussing software enablement for the succession planning process, typical audience reaction can range from skepticism, to passivity to even a passionate denial of its need. Indeed the process is far more intricate than the rubric of contemporary IT. No Internet of ‘things’ in Succession Planning, which is usually a process used to identify people within the organization for positions…

Succession planning, uncannily, reminds leaders that they are mortal. A lot of literature appeared in 70s on the subject of executive continuity. These publications stressed the importance of executive sponsorship and attention to the process. Considering the value of assets to be transferred, while effecting a change in leadership and the methods employed to get at the targeted business results, lend it tangibility.

This is the era of contingencies. Technology and product life cycles have never been shorter. Business ambitions range from the conquest of extra-terrestrial resources to robotics to immortality. This ascent to ‘Xanadu’ requires HR managers to think succession continuously, bringing in skills dynamically to exploit a chance technology or idea and ensure business results.

The sheer enormity of the task makes some wonder how a Human Capital Management software can solve such a business problem. Cultural factors (intangibles) must be considered as they speak for the methods that will be employed to achieve results. The ability to steer the ship and cover liabilities must be considered as well.
Its complexity aside, a simple truth is, running a business is likened to steering a ship in business literature. Taking this literally, here is an illustration.

In 1300AD Trireme (3 storey) ships dominated the sea. Romans and other civilizations mastered sea navigation with these ships. A lot relied on the wind directions and the oarsmen. In the 14th century, that masts were added to the bows and sterns of ships to increase stability (as in the Carrack Ship). A Galleon ship (16th Century) design further lowered the center of gravity increasing the ship’s stability even further.

This example above lends some insight to what a succession planner must be thinking about at a fundamental level. The ideal candidate (for a leadership position) must possess the ability to lead teams (oarsmen), exploit market forces gainfully (wind directions), and lower the cost of capital (CG). Needless to say there are other factors too.

A genuine succession plan must articulate its demand granularly and seek relentlessly, a candidate who can fulfill the business need. What software can do is help bring data to the table. If the software offers a thematic framework, then potential biases in decision making can be avoided.

The most common of these biases is saliency. Immediate past performance alone cannot be an indicator of the future, there must be a history of performance sought as data. Pattern biases can be eliminated by look at a variety of parameters such as education, experience, skill sets, positions held, competencies, and international tourneys over and above a view based on performance alone.

Driving themes such as high flight risk can help identify a gainful career for the young and the restless, improving their engagement levels and killing stability biases.

Employing survey data to achieve cultural alignment can help bolster the plan. Data on performance and reasons driving performance is now available for tapping. HRIS software can identify candidates who will employ the right methods to achieve business results picking the right actions from among the organic and inorganic choices.
Want the right candidate for a position… fight your propensity to fault and HCM software can help you with the data.

See all topics