Prepare Your Successors for the Future of Your Role
In previous posts, we’ve discussed how succession planning can help a company prepare for their future. Some of our recommendations were to consider how your industry, company, and leadership roles are changing over time. Today, we will discuss how these principles can be applied to future planning for a specific role.
When beginning to succession plan for a role, incumbents are the best source of information for a rough list of the skills, experiences, or knowledge that is required for success in their position. We compliment these lists with the help of validated assessments and our success profiles.
Although it’s important to have a strong understanding of the current state of a position, good succession planning is also forward thinking. In turn, it’s vital we give appropriate attention to the skills a successor will need to be effective in the future.
Thinking about the future is a significantly more difficult task than assessing a position in the here-and-now. It can be hard to anticipate how external forces and internal pressures will influence the future direction of a role. But while planning for the future always involves some degree of uncertainty, taking a systematic approach to consider the future of any role can mitigate this uncertainty and provide the guidance needed to best prepare successors for critical roles.
Future Directions For Your Role
When planning for the future of a role, it can be helpful to break areas of change down into broad categories. At SIGMA, we’ve created a worksheet with the most common categories of change that impact succession planning at many organizations. Use our worksheet to consider how changes to talent and your workforce, innovation and technology, customer and client needs, and industry trends and shifts will impact your role in the future. Using these four broad buckets can help you to avoid focusing too much attention on one area of a position, neglecting the others and leaving you unprepared to handle the challenges stemming from these potential changes.
How to Use This Activity
When looking to the future, we first recommend you consider the risks, roadblocks, or barriers that might prevent a leader from being successful in their role. For example, is there a risk their skills will become outdated? That they will not have the resources and newest technologies needed to remain competitive? That their role will change to meet customer or industry demands? Try to find potential risks in any immediate or large-scale changes you expect to see, as the consequences of overlooking these risks can be severe. By thinking about the potential risks and threats to the future of a role, you can ensure you have prepared in advance to meet these challenges head on.
Next, we can begin to think proactively about opportunities for this role. What are some potential avenues for growth in this role? How can leaders take advantage of changes in the company to see greater success? How might roles change to meet these future trends? When considering the opportunities that are already present in the organization for this role, identify the kinds of opportunities that would be valuable but are not currently available. Ideas for these future opportunities might arise from the risks to success in this role and allow you to readily pair challenges with potential solutions.
Once you’ve narrowed down the risks and opportunities for each category of your critical role, consider which three competencies would be most valuable for a leader to succeed in this role in the future. From here, you can evaluate your incumbents and their succession bench for current strengths and discrepancies in future skills. Update the success profile for the role to include these future competencies. Repeat this activity for any critical role in your organization to help your company effectively prepare for the future. Download the fillable version of our Future Directions for Your Role worksheet to get started.
How SIGMA Can Help
At SIGMA, we want to help your company prepare for your future with a comprehensive succession plan. Our Launch Series will deliver your organization a personalized succession plan in just four to six weeks. For more information on our SIMPLE Succession Process, Launch Series, or Succession Planning solutions, contact us and learn more about how we can help your organization plan for the future.