How Do You Spell Succession?

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

When most people think of succession planning (grooming the person who will take your job when you leave), they think of the process being reserved for “C” level executives In addition, most succession planning efforts are limited to finding someone internal to the organization to ascend to the intended role. Consider the following definitions:

  • “Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they become available.”- Wikipedia
  • “Succession planning is a process whereby an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company. Through your succession planning process, you recruit superior employees, develop their knowledge, skills and abilities, and prepare them for advancement or promotion into ever more challenging roles.”- Susan M. Heathfield, human resources expert

Based on the above definition, it doesn’t seem that the process should be so difficult. Yet success in this area seems to elude most companies. Perhaps the seeds for deficiency are sewn in the process itself. Consider the following excerpt from the Corporate Leadership …

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