Transformation Tuesday

Encouraging Each Other

Solving the Succession Puzzle !

Infosys has been back in headlines. The news has been about the difference of view between the co-founder and the current leadership on how to run things. We will avoid taking any names since this article is not about people but it is about leadership and succession planning as the name of the title suggests.

It is the responsibility of the board to develop processes to address significant decisions such as leadership and succession management. It is not a one-time event. It is a continuous process that goes beyond the appointment and entry of a new leader.

Some people might think succession planning is waste of time and efforts. But it is the most important aspect of the business. This will involve reviews at regular intervals and polish the way the game is played by the board and the CEO. This is of more importance if the CEO is an outsider as in case of Infosys. He might have a different way of operating. There are companies who have implemented this mechanism and benefited.

Succession planning also involves clear delegation in a phased manner especially in the areas that form the foundation of the organization i.e. value system and culture. It is the ultimate capability that any CEO should have – the ability to preserve organizations values that are fundamental building blocks of the organization.

Board governance also plays a major role in succession planning and management. Recent events show that companies such as Infosys who have been the epitome of governance too have encountered failure in major events.

Having seen the crisis at Infosys where besides the CEO, other senior managers left the organization, succession planning is vital. It need not be done for every position. The advantages of succession planning are as follows:

  • Ready availability of trained, experienced people who are ready to take over and step into key positions
  • Candidates are completely aware and abide by company values and culture
  • Availability of resources from within the company so that it becomes easy to cope with future needs
  • Encouragement for the employee which will keep them with the organization
  • Well defined career goals and objectives will keep the employee motivated and focused

Succession Planning Methodology:

  • Engage senior management: Both the CEO and senior leadership team should actively collaborate towards succession planning. They should collectively set the expectations and plan the process and make it happen
  • Design a roadmap for the future leaders: Understand the leadership skills needed to achieve organizations strategic goals. Assess the potential of the current employees to meet the future needs and emerge as leaders
  • Develop future talent: Identify budding future talent/leaders, then identify their development needs and follow a systematic approach to nurture that development
  • Search for new talent to fill gaps: There will be instances when you will not be able to fill the gap with the current resources. So have an effective hiring and on boarding process to assimilate new talent in the organization
  • Review and Improve the process of developing leaders/talent: Like any other process, this is also not a one-time event. It is a continuous and repetitive process. Collect data regularly to understand and improve the process of leadership development.

So succession planning should be part of every organization/function/team. It should be the vision of the organization. Without a succession plan, it is difficult for the company to grow and cherish its human capital. The company will not be able to assure a continuous availability of well equipped and trained employees who will smoothly take over when the current managers and key personnel retire or move on.

Thus succession planning is much more important than the time many companies allocate to it.

So plan well for a better future of your company and have a transforming Tuesday!

Written By Faber Mayuri Pandya

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