Pump up your pipeline

How should leaders forge a succession planning roadmap for the continual progress of their organisation?

Suresh Superamaniam
Co-Founder and Director, Apostrophe Digital
Leaders should establish the goals and targets that the company wants to achieve in the forthcoming years. This has to be very clear and definite, as it will be key to finding the right candidate to take over the helm.

Leaders should also identify, establish, and improve best practices, work procedures, work flow systems, and people management strategies. Without these basics, succession planning cannot be well achieved. This is a curve ball as without a good torch to handover, there won’t be a clear direction or focus for the company moving ahead.

In addition, they should find a person who is willing to challenge themselves. You obviously won’t find a clone of yourself, but the successor should understand the goals set by the company, concur with them, and achieve them with new ideas and skill sets.

Business owners tend to be stubborn and fail to realise that the future holds newer and more efficient ideas and methods. Understanding and appreciating this will help in letting the successor discover the true potential of themselves and how far they can take the company.

People management and communication skills rank as two of the highest, so the candidate must score high on these. Managing a new or an old team in a new position will have very different dynamics, with newer, higher expectations and targets.

Gearing the whole team to work towards the company’s goals with the new leader at the helm will be the foremost challenge.
Ray Bigger
Managing Director, Think8 & Host, STJobs HR Summit 2014
Acquisition, retention, and succession planning. These are ongoing hot topics. The problems are exacerbated by some appalling research figures.

Gallup’s Global Workforce Survey reported that 86% of workers are disengaged (22% “totally” disengaged) and a Randstad survey reported that 81% of workers did not believe their talents were being used effectively. Do these consistent figures suggest that leaders are struggling to get to grips with these issues?

Leaders are waking up to the fact that to attract the right talent, a clearly articulated “purpose” is a must have.

As Peter Drucker so aptly put it, “A strategy without a purpose isn’t a strategy”. He knew a thing or two. We are talking about a purpose that resonates with your people, stops them in their tracks, and galvanises them into saying “I’m with you”. That purpose will attract the right people you are striving to find.

An effectively managed sales pipeline is the life blood (profitable revenue) of any company. That means an effectively managed HR succession talent pipeline is mandatory, not optional.

Both require a systematic approach and the space allowed here only allows for broad headings. Aspects include leadership self-awareness, senior leadership involvement with HR and senior leadership, accountability, and connecting the company business plan or strategy to the succession process.

Leaders should also utilise data and assessments to look at current gaps and look beneath the surface of applicants.
Ispran Kandasamy
Vice President of Sales, Asia-Pacific, CommScope
About two thirds of the world’s population live and work within the Asia-Pacific region, along with a considerable number of business leaders. The Asia-Pacific geography experiences perhaps the greatest diversity in culture and work practice. This diversity also produces talented individuals who are well adapted to this dynamic work environment and are capable of operating effectively in a multicultural environment.

At CommScope, we believe that succession planning is critical to the long term success of our company. Succession planning never stops, and it is regularly discussed at the leadership level.

Succession planning should not be presented merely as a tool to replace poor performers. The emphasis should be on a process to identify important leadership positions, communicate what is expected for each role and ensure that potential successors are being developed by the incumbent for each role.

The discovery process for the role expectations should not only cover technical competency for the role, but also cultural awareness, although this “capability” is difficult to determine. Succession planning should not be applied for each and every role within the company – a formal review process and identification of the key roles should be undertaken.

In some cases, it may be that there are no clear potential successors from within the company. In which case, we will already have a good understanding of the requirements of the role and we are able to work efficiently with outside agencies when we need to.

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