A proven, exciting Retirement planning process for individuals and couples, The Best-Half is a combination of workshops, coaching and personal reflection. It was developed by experienced coaches and educators. For organizations, The Best-Half is a process to be used in succession management especially for transitions and to establish common goals and objectives in the senior phases of a career.

Monday, November 07, 2011

CAUTION: Putting succession plans on pause can be fatal to your company’s health

Over half of all large companies surveyed with succession plans in place have let them lapse in the last year

I guess it’s just too hard to do two things at once – stay in business and plan for the future. I can understand that. Sometimes it’s hard when you are at the grocery store to remember avocados and canned tuna. I will wander around looking for some type of mental clue that will tell me what I am forgetting. The clues to look for to tell if you are not succession planning might include: former employee’s offices now empty, shorter senior management meetings because half or more of the spaces around the table are empty and a declining customer base because key customer intelligence and relationships aren’t being maintained and nurtured.

At any time successful businesses or at least those leaders that aspire to success have the dual job description of working in the business as well as dedicating time and resources to working on the business. The advantage of this dual-purpose thinking is the clarity and certainty resulting from managing the day to day and then stepping away from the day to day to focus on the business and challenges of growth, development, markets and people.

A recent Globe and Mail article: Getting serious about succession, (Mar. 3, 2010) points out some new information compiled from a recent study of over 200 large organizations taken by US based, OI Partners. While 71 per cent of US and Canadian companies say they have succession plans, just over half, 54 percent, have let their succession planning function slide in the last 18 months. By coincidence, 54 percent of the survey group also says they don’t have enough people in their organization who are ready to replace current executives and managers. Hopefully they will be able to “turn on a dime” when the economy officially rebounds.

Tips for employers wishing to build their succession planning portfolio:
  • Identify the skills needed in the immediate, short term and longer term
  • Evaluate and assess the talent you have
  • Look for the hidden gems – who are the back room stars that maybe don’t monopolize the spotlight but could move up quickly
  • Review regularly – chart progress quarterly and measure the performance you need.

The career management ‘juggernaut’ is about three things:
1.      Employees want to manage their own careers
2.      Employees want to be involved in succession planning
3.      Employees want to learn new skills and learn about other area of the organization.

When an organization is seen to be lagging behind in providing opportunities for career management and development there is going to be some serious second guessing around the water cooler. Offering the right tools to encourage your employees to proactively manage their careers will allow them with little effort, to maintain their own skills inventory, understand their instincts and be able to be open and realistic about their learning needs, wants and desires. Confidence is a factor of clarity and certainty. If people don’t “feel the love” they will not feel confident in their role, their manager or their future. Will they have the courage to be the type of leader you are going to need? Unlikely.

Being prepared for career discussions is both the responsibility of the manager and the employee. It is the manager’s role to successfully set the tone for a proactive discussion. It is the employee’s role to show up prepared with a realistic outlook and a willingness to work with the manager to determine and then implement the best outcome for both. Coaching, assessments such as Kolbe, and 360 reviews can serve as excellent information opportunities pinpointing areas for development.

What’s going on at the supermarket?

We started out talking about avocados and tuna. To go back to the supermarket, I sense a change for companies who specialize in developing and marketing impulse grocery items. These are the super tasty, high margin goodies sometimes referred to as “my guilty pleasure.” Now that we are all taking our own bags to the grocery store, I believe the impulse buy sector of the shopping cart is in decline. When I go in I take the approximate number of bags I think I will need based on my list. If I start adding spontaneous purchases I’m going to run out of bags and will face the scorn of others by needing to purchase a bag that likely costs a tenth of a cent, for five cents. Good bye high margin foods and treats - hello less profit for the grocery store. The same is happening with bottled water. It now seems to be relegated to ‘loss leader’ status with the same shame quotient as those extra plastic bags. That’s an added kick in the teeth for their margins. The supermarket experience is quickly changing and evolving. Those companies that see the change and learn to adapt will flourish.


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