|10 Step Turnkey
are reading this because it is your responsibility to design,
implement, facilitate, and measure a succession planning program to
guide strategic leadership change initiatives for your organization.
Your immediate objective could be to grow and retain leadership
talent or it could be to reduce ranks and keep the right leaders to
rebuild later. Bottom line you need the right leaders in the right
place at the right time. In any case, knowledge management is an
issue; to retain mission-critical know-how for your organization.
Associates specializes in succession planning to drive organization
Associates uniquely provides all the necessary components:
- through highest rated seminars or workshops
Services - to assist with implementation and as needed in the future
as a Service - affordable and ready fit to our best in class models
is our recommended chronological outline of implementation:
Familiarization by your Process Champion (PC)
Process Champion (PC) is the internal person who is responsible for
running the succession planning process in your organization.
a free live webinar from the comfort of your office via your computer
and phone to receive a high level overview of what Success Associates
has to offer to evaluate if we are right for your organization. We
will tailor our presentation to your questions based upon a 5 minute
may invite other team members or decision makers to participate from
their individual offices.
arrange this opportunity please click on Schedule
a Free Webinar
Attend a One Day Seminar
a one day seminar. Choose between programs for corporations or for
government operations. These events are often sponsored by or co
marketed with third party conference producers.
arrange for a one day seminar at your location. Your location is
often more economical because a team can attend with no employee
travel expense. We also tailor onsite programs to topics you wish to
Our dedicated seminars
delivered at your location carry our 100% satisfaction guarantee.
If you are not satisfied
with the seminar, we refund 100% of the fee paid.
is a comprehensive program covering strategy, process, logistics and
40 question implementation planning template is included.
view an outline of topics included click on One
Attend a Two Day Workshop
we have a version for corporations and one for government operations.
And we periodically offer public enrollment workshops. For best
results we prefer and invite you to allow us to work with you free of
charge to tailor an on site two day workshop delivered at your
Our two day workshops
conducted at your location also carry our 100% satisfaction
two day workshop covers material included in the one day seminar
above. The additional day provides time for role plays with the
process, more time for interactive discussion, and coverage of
additional topics. Importantly, the two day workshop delivered at
your location allows time to consult with you individually to
configure our models to your organization and create an
implementation plan specific to your organization.
view an outline of topics included click on Two
Implementation Plan and Configure Rating Models to Your Organization
step has been completed if a two day workshop was held at your
a one day seminar we have helped clients plan and configure by:
an on-site consulting day or
remotely by phone, trading emails and using our secure WebEx
Group Training for your Executive Team
(1) 90-minute meeting is the minimum time required for the following
the meeting chair express their support and introduce the trainer
objectives and expected outcomes
an executive briefing on the first complete process cycle
executives on the use of rating models configured to your
what will be requested of the audience and next steps.
is common to schedule this session for 2 hours to allow for a 30
minute group discussion.
variations that could extend the initial training session length
beyond 90 minutes are possible. You could choose to cover additional
topics or delve more deeply into those listed.
Interviews to Collect Base Data Judgments
internal process champion schedules a one-on-one interview with each
of the executive team members to ask a scripted list of questions
about each of their direct subordinates and the positions they hold.
They are already familiar with the questions and rating models from
the group training session. Ratings and information collected take an
average of 7 to 12 minutes per subordinate. If the executive has 8
direct reports the interview is scheduled for one and one half hours
but might be completed in less than one hour.
process champion records the information provided on a one page
interview guide note taking form. The information is later easily
entered into Success Associates software for analysis, reporting and
conversion to PowerPoint presentation for the next step.
Alternatively, an Excel spreadsheet can be used. While possible,
using Excel to analyze the data by inspection and create basic
reports and data views in PowerPoint is not recommended. Using Excel
becomes increasingly more time consuming as the organization
increases the scope of leaders in the plan; and benefits from
increasingly sophisticated data analyses, historical reporting and
advanced metrics are only possible through use of Success Associates
Associates deploys a socially engineered group rating process that
systematically and efficiently provides for presentation of
unilateral rating data by the rater to their peer leadership team and
meeting chair. The resulting shared understanding created through
these conversations further calibrates the rating scales used and the
multi rater input increases accuracy of the data.
following 15 minute kick-off presentation is included in the one day
for peer group teams to candidly discuss ratings on subordinates
most common rating biases and how to avoid them
ground rules for conducting the consensus meeting
presenter and participant ground rules for the consensus meeting
PowerPoint format for organizing data to be discussed
rating (of potential) distribution changes pre and post meeting
Analysis and Action Planning Meeting
snapshot of the strength of the top leadership team and the bench
strength behind them is now in draft form. Positions predicted to
come open in the next 12 months are known. Success Associates software
provides over 2 dozen standard analysis reports. Five (5) analyses of
the data are recommended for conversion to PowerPoint presentation to
form this meeting agenda.
predicted to become open with successors identified
predicted to become open with no successors identified
rated high potential
rated high risk of loss
rated as occupying the wrong job or at wrong management level
each of these analyses we provide suggested:
layout for displaying the data
for measuring plan progress
the prior Consensus Meeting there
was a streamlined focus on one job / one position at a time for the
scope of high impact leadership positions included in the first
cycle. In step 7 the plan is refined as participants gain new
perspective by looking at group data. For example, a group list of
high potentials could highlight that one or more persons do not fit
with the others on the list or that someone was overlooked. In the
Consensus meeting a pool of successors who could do each job with a
two year window of development were brainstormed with no discussion.
During this meeting, successors are viewed more critically in terms
of are they “real” successors? That is, maybe they could do the
job, but would they view it on their career path?
Priority Successors and Individual Development / Transition Plans
successors for important leadership positions that are predicted to
come open in the next 12 months. The executive team can take this a
step further and stack rank order the predicted position openings in
importance based upon their assessment of impact pain to the
organization or likelihood of vacancy or both. Just in time
individual development plans for growth or individual transition
plans to changed roles due to downsizing, mergers or acquisitions are
where the real payoff from the succession plannng process is
development is for everyone. To say development is for everyone
one is first.
This approach is clearly pragmatic and organizationally strategic;
not employee-centred. Prioritizing individuals who will be first to
consume precious time in determining and executing position-targeted
development plans is the goal. The return on investment is plainly
evident to the decision makers. The ultimate goal is that everyone in
senior management will have a meaningful individual learning plan. A
shared understanding of prioritization developed by the executive
team provides the starting point.
next step is to reconcile executive team-designated successors in the
plan with the individual aspirations of the successors.
assumptions to test are:
adjustments to successors in the plan are often made after testing
Associates provides both the framework and tools for individual
plan purposes could include:
position preparedness (for priority successors)
(for successful transition to the new role)
(to address gap with current position)
structured conversations involving various stakeholders in the
success of the individual development plan create story telling
narratives that highlight
learning opportunities in each of five key areas of knowledge*:
Relational and Network
Organizational and Cultural
Functional and Technical
Leadership and Management
Industry and Business / Agency
Adapted from Volhardt, Carlota “Pfizer’s Prescription for the
Risky Business of Executive Transitions” in Journal of
Organizational Excellence, John Wiley and Sons, Winter 2005.
activities to address gaps identified in the narratives are captured
Success Associates software these elements can be free form entered,
saved for ease of use by others, upload your organization’s
existing catalogue, or any combination of the above. There is
separate section for specifying and tracking any position
requirements that must be met.
advanced users who require a more detailed approach, an additional
software feature is a preloaded set of generic executive competencies
or your organization specific competencies can be easily configured
to provide capability to produce:
based profile of the employee
based profile of the position
gap report - candidacies
gap report - current position
gap report - next planned position
a final note in this section, targeted development raises a
reasonable concern about feelings of entitlement on the part of
happens when a designated successor or pool of successors has engaged
in development and then do not get the position when it comes open?
There has to be a caveat of “no guarantee” up front. The
selection process involves dynamics beyond preparedness. Especially
in most government agencies, merit system guidelines apply that
mandate by law that the selection process for position openings be
competitive. This does not preclude targeted development per the
Director, Succession Planning in the United States Office of
Personnel Management. The 108th
Congress enacted law that mandates federal agencies with few
exceptions will systematically develop talent through succession
government agencies can contact the Western Management Region Center
of the US Office of Personnel Management or your Federal Executive
Board about sponsoring a Success Associates seminar or workshop in
Readiness and Progress Review Meeting
important topic for executive
team conversation is to rate each of the successors in the plan on
“overall, how ready are they now?” for each position candidacy.
This exercise is best started before work on development plans
begins. We recommend a simple “ready rating” of percent ready
from zero to one hundred percent in 10% increments. For example, a
successor is judged to be 40% or 50% or 60% etc ready to assume the
target predecessor’s position. To streamline, this can start with a
unilateral rating of readiness proposed by the nominator of the
successor and followed by group discussion of only those ratings
where disagreement exists. In our experience, the first or “baseline”
ratings of readiness are judgments not much better than a good guess.
In our experience, executives can and will make these judgments and
are quick to engage in supporting their view and learning the views
of their peers.
discussions about readiness naturally lead the team members to think
about and discuss specific needs successors
have to be (more or) 100% ready for designated positions. And
valuable brainstorming occurs on how to best meet those needs - by
special assignment, mentoring, interim positions etc. The focus today
is how to develop leaders while attending to business. Both the needs
identification and tactics to address them are invaluable input to
crafting the successor’s individual development plan. An important
aspect of development planning that often surfaces is changes in the
role that may be needed. That is, the successor’s development needs
are viewed not only against the predecessor’s skill and knowledge
set but also against a change that is needed for the mission of the
position. As more and more leaders engage with and execute on
development or transition plans the confidence in the readiness
ratings increases dramatically.
involved in conversations throughout the succession planning meeting
agendas create dynamics of: Ownership of the data;
shared responsibility for decisions; and accountability to the other
team members to execute on action plans under their individual
control. Selection and transition decisions increase in accuracy
without major unpleasant surprises that often accompany isolated and
reactive decision making. Importantly, each subordinate leader who
changes roles has the combined support of the leadership team one
level up, an important element to their success in the new role.
Repeat Process Cycle and Expand Scope
implementation question before you started is how many and which
leaders / positions should be in the plan? Our advice is always start
with the top leadership team (or as close to it as possible) rating
all their direct reports and take it all the way through the 10 step
process before expanding the scope.
management support is critically important and they will mold the
process and refine the meeting agendas for each management level down
the organization hierarchy. Top management will also decide how many
management levels down the process will apply and by when. In
summary, if your organization has 1,000 total employees or 400,000
total employees start with the top 25 to 75 leaders as the focus of
the plan. By definition these top positions have the highest negative
impact on organization effectiveness when they go vacant. Large
groups are languishing without their leader, putting projects on
hold, delaying new initiatives, irreparably damaging customer
satisfaction and disappointing investors while waiting for the
basic information on employees and their positions one, two or three
management levels below the level of interest are uploaded to Success
Associates software so that successors identified are available in
the system for ease of use and accuracy without manual entry. We have
one low monthly software subscription price regardless of 1,000 or
10,000 employee / position records uploaded.
very first 10 step implementation cycle feels like a project. It’s
all new for the executive team and the process champion - the jargon,
process, database, analysis reports, metrics to measure progress, and
using integrated charting displays of relevant data. The executive
team experiences valuable results and experiences value far in excess
of the effort. The second and subsequent cycles are much easier - and
now it is reduced to a 6 step process. The team is on the same page.
The conversations are becoming second nature.
further streamlined, the meeting agendas evolve to:
Step 5 unilateral ratings are spread sheeted and only changes are
Step 6 consensus meeting focuses only on changes proposed to base
Step 7 discuss success and opportunities missed from the prior
decide additional individuals to engage in development plans
New or remaining priority successors without individual plans
High potential individuals that need a challenge
High risk of loss individuals where challenge is an incentive to stay
Plans to resolve leaders in “wrong level or wrong job” situations
At Step 10 the calendar of meetings is set for the next cycle.
Executives are benefiting from the process now and
recognize that with the rate of change that occurs the data to
maintain its usefulness needs to be refreshed two or three times a
year. Best practice has become every 4 to 6 months for a complete
cycle. We have actually discouraged executive teams from selecting
4 cycles per year in order to let the process champion and the team
catch their breath between cycles.
team may decide to “push down” the process to their subordinate
leadership teams who in turn rate their subordinates and engage in
their leadership peer review meetings. These teams who are new to
the process start at Step 4 - Group Training.
succession planning at multiple management levels is achieved in the
organization, a combined view of the data is often discussed by
the executive team in addition to reviewing cycle over cycle
closely related topic is: It
is All about the Conversations.
manageable amount of data collected in the original interviews and
adjusted through structured team conversations is analyzed, reported
and measured through Success Associates software as a service. Learn
about this powerful tool at Menu
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