Be prepared when critical leadership positions suddenly become vacant
Why you should have a talent succession plan
When a CEO, vice president, or senior level director leaves an organization, the result is all too often chaotic. These critical leadership positions are required to move organizational goals and initiatives forward, and they provide guidance to the rest of your employees on a daily basis. Without them, forward movement stalls and their absence may shake confidence and morale across your entire workforce. But it can be difficult to fill leadership positions quickly — and with the right people.
The answer to this challenge is to have a succession plan, which is a strategy for passing on leadership roles and responsibilities to well-prepared successors within your organization. But how do you identify who among your employees has the potential to take on a leadership role successfully? And if your employees are not ready for a promotion to the next level, what do you need to do to get them ready?
Our top 5 tips for identifying high potential within your workforce
Start having talent discussions
The first step is to start having regular talent discussions with your chief executives. These discussions are not performance reviews but should be formalized and scheduled on an annual basis. Talk through all the possibilities for every critical leadership position. Are you going to have any vacancies coming up? Are you getting what you need from each leader? Just having these discussions can give you a starting point for your succession plan.
Make a plan for every leadership position
You ideally should have a succession plan for all leadership positions within your organization. At the very least, make sure you have a plan for the most critical positions. Then, if one of your critical leaders decides to resign, you’ve already organized a way to move forward with a replacement — saving valuable time.
Identify skills gaps
Look at the main skills or competencies required from your critical leadership positions. If one of those positions becomes vacant, does someone else in your organization possess the same skills? What are the gaps in your current employees’ skill sets that need to be developed? Identifying these gaps tells you exactly where you need to address your development program.
Implement a development program
To prepare your employees for growth and future promotions, make sure you have a program in place to develop the skills they need to reach those leadership positions. Even your current employees who are not yet high performers can be developed to become high performers. Figure out what you need to include in their development plan to ensure they will be ready to take on more responsibility when you need them to.
Select for leadership potential
Don’t forget about selection. To ensure you have potential leaders within your organization to step up when a current leader resigns, you should be assessing each person in your candidate pool for their high-performance potential. Hire people who not only are a great fit to the role and your organization, but who also have the potential to grow into future leaders.
How Talogy can help you identify and develop potential leaders
Use an objective measure of leadership skills
Go beyond observational performance data and implement objective measures of leadership potential. Talogy’s broad range of solutions include science-backed assessments that are proven to be predictive of potential performance. With assessments that measure the skills required from successful leaders — using multiple modes of measurement — we can help you identify your employees with the highest potential to step into leadership roles.
Use data for insight into skills gaps
A talent management tool like the Caliper Profile can be used to accurately predict workplace behavior and future job performance. With validated job models, you can see exactly how well a candidate or employee will fit into a leadership role. Caliper also gives you access to data that can show you group-level trends to find out where you may have skills gaps.
Prepare new leaders with executive level coaching
If you know you’re going to have a leadership position opening up, and you’ve identified one or more employees to move into that role, executive-level coaching can get them up to speed quickly. Talogy’s expert consultants can provide coaching that helps your employees develop the skills and competencies they need to be successful in their new positions.
The result is that we and our leaders can make some genuinely informed decisions about where their energy and future talents lie.
Leadership Development Manager, British Gas
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