Succession planning is the process of identifying and developing talent to transition into future leadership roles. SIGMA’s six-step succession process provides organizations with a thorough approach to planning, including a process for supporting the continued development of potential candidates for critical roles. In particular, candidate development requires ongoing attention; thus, the second year of our succession process focuses on providing talent with practical, comprehensive feedback about their performance so that they have all the information they need to continue growing their skills and remain on track with development plans. Here, we describe how to use 360 degree assessments for succession. In particular, we’ll look at how SIGMARadius can be leveraged to make the most of feedback during the succession planning process.

About SIGMARadius

SIGMARadius is a 360 degree feedback assessment that includes performance ratings from superiors, colleagues, direct/indirect reports, and the succession candidates themselves. Together, these perspectives provide a multi-faceted and holistic overview of each candidate’s performance. In addition to numeric ratings, candidates also receive narrative comments referencing specific on-the-job behaviors. This allows candidates to better understand their leadership behavior, capitalize on strengths, and invest in development opportunities. Capitalizing on 360 degree assessments for succession planning is one of the prime benefits of tests like SIGMARadius.

Using 360 Degree Assessments for Succession

SIGMARadius is introduced in the later stages of succession planning. The assessment is designed to provide multi-source feedback for a succession candidate’s development. First, however, leaders will need to identify critical roles, build success profiles, nominate successors, assess development needs, and support candidates to create individual development plans.

Throughout the initial stages of the succession planning process, SIGMA recommends using the Leadership Skills Profile – Revised (LSP-R). The LSP-R is a self-assessment tool that measures 50 leadership competencies associated with leader success. Leaders can use these competencies to build success profiles for their role, and results can be used to nominate potential succession candidates and create individual talent development plans. The LSP-R has many uses in the succession planning process, SIGMARadius complements it by bringing a variety of perspectives to the assessment and development processes. SIGMARadius and the LSP-R both use SIGMA’s leadership competency model, which means that feedback collected by SIGMARadius can be mapped directly onto development goals. This allows candidates to see their improvements more clearly and make informed decisions about adjusting their development plans.

Most organizations begin the process of checking in on development progress in their second year of succession planning. At this time, SIGMARadius can be used to facilitate the following key processes:

  1. Gaining multiple perspectives
  2. Measuring candidate development progress
  3. Understanding the developmental needs of an organization

Using SIGMARadius to Gain Multiple Perspectives

The competencies measured by SIGMARadius are based on the same competency model as the LSP-R. This means that by the time candidates participate in the 360 feedback process, they are already familiar with critical leadership competencies. That being said, the LSP-R uses a trait-based approach, whereas SIGMARadius focuses on observable candidate behaviors. In other words, the LSP-R measures an individual’s propensity for leadership competencies, and SIGMARadius measures how that individual acts on them. Further, SIGMARadius is a multi-source assessment that gathers feedback from leaders, colleagues, direct/indirect reports, and the succession candidates themselves. This provides candidates with novel information about their performance and gives them a chance to simultaneously consider LSP-R results and SIGMARadius feedback to identify patterns in their skills and behaviors.

Central to the 360 feedback process is the idea that individuals across different levels of an organization each have different opportunities to observe a candidate’s performance. For example, a supervisor may observe a different aspect of a candidate’s performance (e.g., finished projects, outcomes) than their peers (e.g., day-to-day work style) or their direct reports (e.g., supervisory style). Gathering feedback from multiple parties can provide a comprehensive snapshot of a candidates’ performance. The multiple perspectives captured by SIGMARadius can therefore also help candidates increase their own self-awareness and take conscious steps towards continuous improvement.

Using SIGMARadius to Measure Progress

Because SIGMARadius is administered in the second year of succession planning, candidates are able to utilize this feedback to consider their progress towards skill development goals. For example, candidates can use feedback to examine whether their developmental efforts are having the desired impact and being recognized by others. Further, candidates can gain insight into new development opportunities or goals they may wish to consider. Narrative comments are particularly helpful for identifying examples of progress and reinforcing instances of strong leader behavior.

Candidates are then able to incorporate feedback from SIGMARadius when refining their development plans and ensure they are on track to develop the leadership competencies required for their potential future role. In this way, SIGMARadius ensures that candidates have the information they need to assess how they are improving towards their development goals.

Using SIGMARadius to Understand Overall Development Needs

Not only can SIGMARadius feedback be useful for candidates, but it can also be used to inform the organization’s broader development needs. SIGMA’s succession planning process includes a general scorecard that summarizes candidate results, allowing leaders to monitor overall progress. For example, leaders can look at overall feedback to examine trends across individuals that may be development opportunities for the entire organization. This feedback can also be used to identify gaps in training or a lack of role clarity that might not be obvious to leaders otherwise. Furthermore, the 360 feedback process is useful for leaders to look holistically at a candidates’ performance and examine whether coaching or additional support may be required.

SIGMA Can Help

Succession planning can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to start. We’re here to help! SIGMA has over 50 years experience and a variety of resources available to facilitate your succession planning process. We also offer coaching services to equip high potential candidates for future roles, or help existing leaders refine their skills so they can excel in their current position. If you don’t already have a mature succession plan in place, or you are looking to modify the process, SIGMA also offers a variety of services that can help, including our Succession Planning Certification workshop and our Launch Series. Interested in learning more? Contact us below to learn how you can use 360 degree assessments for succession, or ask us about any of our other services. We are always happy to speak with you!