Building Bench Skills vs. Traditional Succession Planning

Traditional succession planning is often a waste of time. Let’s face it, “plans” themselves, although filled with good intention, often fail to create change in an organization. The idea of “planning” focuses on a process rather than a specific goal or outcome. Most company leaders that I know are so busy with the day-to-day issues of running their business that the idea of spending time thinking through a “process” often takes a backseat to critical items like customer complaints, new product development, making financial decisions, addressing employee requirements and more. Perhaps we need to think about succession planning more as a way to develop bench skills in executives with great promise. In other words, as a first step, we need to ask ourselves the question; “how do we help key leaders in the organization build the skills needed to step into critical future roles?” If we think about succession in this way there is a greater chance that these plans will be executed.

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