Succession Planning

Succession planning is “one of the most important things leaders do…prepare for their own succession” (Henderson, n.d., p. 1). Every organization should implement succession planning, if they have not done so already. Succession planning “ensure[s] leadership continuity in key positions, retain and develop intellectual and knowledge capital for the future, and encourage[s] individual advancement (Henderson, n.d., p. 1). Human capital is extremely important in any organization, especially if that organization wishes to stay open and profitable. As leaders in an organization age successors must take on those roles to continue with the business. “Succession planning [is] perhaps the most essential ingredient in building an organization that is capable of achieving its strategic goals” (Butler & Roche-Tarry, 2002, p. 201).

Three specific reasons to implement succession planning in an organization include:

  • To provide increased opportunities for “high potential” workers
  • To identify “replacement needs” as a means of targeting necessary training, employee education, and employee development
  • To increase the talent pool of promotable employees (Henderson, n.d., p. 2-3)

Since the succession process is ongoing, the considerations will likely change as the planning develops (Butler & Roche-Tarry, 2002). Some considerations to take into account when creating a succession plan include:

  • Communicating career paths to each individual
  • Establishing development and training plans
  • Establishing career paths and individual job moves
  • Communicating upward and laterally concerning the management organization
  • Creating a more comprehensive human resource planning system (Henderson, n.d., p. 2)

Without succession planning, a company will die because those who are promoted into higher positions in the company will not fully understand their duties and how to perform those duties. Beginning the training process as early as possible for individuals chosen for succession planning will allow more training time. There is always more training that can be completed, no matter what industry or position you are in.

Does your company offer succession planning?

Butler, K. & Roche-Tarry, D.E. (2002). Careers and recruitment. Nature Biotechnology, 20 (201-201).

Henderson, J. (n.d.). The value of succession planning. Leadership Advance Online, Issue VII. Retrieved from

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