ready now, ready next…

medium_4609839656Succession planning does not need to be an 8-page document outlining each direct report’s every strength, area of opportunity, and Myers-Briggs profile.  It should be something that managers don’t cringe from when asked to complete (i.e., performance reviews).  Too often, we (the HR we, that is) try to ensure a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to a concept that confuses and frustrates the managers in the organizations that we serve.

Can the process of identifying who is ready now, and who is ready for the next opportunity, be done easily, simply, and provide managers with a valuable snapshot of succession-ready employees?  Most managers know a lot about each of their direct reports strengths, areas of opportunity, and recent successes, inherently through observation.  Taking less than 30 minutes (on paper, in MS Word, on a napkin), to outline who is ready now, who is ready next, what they are ready for (specifically if possible), as well as quick bullets on “why” could be the best tip I’ve heard from Manager Tools in a while, and one that cuts through to the heart of what is needed.  This quick process not only helps me prepare to talk about my staff with senior management, but it also ensures I am serving their career goals.  I can quickly review this document as I approach projects, one-on-one meetings, and annual reviews, making them easier, since I already have an outline that can be edited as they grow and develop.

Recommending this simple process to managers within your organization, who frequently ask HR for advice on “how do I actually do succession planning” may be better received than handing them an 8-page succession planning document.  In fact, I am sure of it.

photo credit: hugojcardoso via photopin cc

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