There is an old but very wise adage used in carpentry “Measure twice, cut once” which is typically followed by “you can’t add wood back”. The message is simple: proper planning will eliminate mistakes.
The same is true when designing and implementing succession planning. Each component of the succession planning process is important. However, the data that is used in identifying talent is beyond critical. The selection process must be based upon accurate, reliable and insightful data. Selecting a successor based upon subjective “gut instinct” or favoritism can be as wasteful and problematic as cutting a piece of wood too short.
Performance, the demonstration of competencies and values, potential, previous experiences, and learning agility are all attributes or data points that should drive the selection of successors. While some of this data may be available within an organization’s HRIS, often times companies struggle to bring together all of this important data…data that is vital to decision making.
Succession Planning software can easily and seamlessly bring together all relevant talent data. Talent Assessment tools can gather missing information; analytics and reporting tools can provide new insight for decision making.
Ultimately, successor selection sends a very powerful message in an organization. It says that senior management recognizes top performers and potential to contribute. Selecting based upon the buddy system causes frustration and significant retention risk. Cutting too short will lead to the flight of very talented employees and is truly wasteful.