Hi all
Can anybody please help me in understanding the process of succesion planning.
Please mail me if u have any information or formats at
Practical solutions would be highly appreciated.
Saurabh Kalra

From India, Delhi

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Hi Saurabh

The following sections outline the key components of succession plan policy and provide a brief sample policy. For practical advice on how to develop a policy, see the link http://transitionguides.com <link updated to site home> which includes a case study on emergency succession planning.

Elements of a Succession Plan Policy

* Statement of commitment to prepare for inevitable leadership change.

* Statement of commitment to assess leadership needs before beginning a search.

* Plan to appoint interim leadership to ensure smooth operations and compliance with contractual obligations.

* Outline of succession procedures including:
  • o internal management succession to the interim position,

    o time frame for making the interim appointment,

    o time frame for appointing a board transition committee, and

    o roles of the transition committee, e.g., communication with stakeholders, identifying a transition management consultant, conducting an organizational assessment and designing the search plan.

Sample Executive Succession Plan Policy

Policy Statement:

A change in executive leadership is inevitable for all organizations and can be a very challenging time. Therefore, it is the policy of the [ORGANIZATION] to be prepared for an eventual permanent change in leadership – either planned or unplanned – to insure the stability and accountability of the organization until such time as new permanent leadership is identified. The board of directors shall be responsible for implementing this policy and its related procedures.

It is also the policy of the board to assess the permanent leadership needs of the organization to help insure the selection of a qualified and capable leader who is representative of the community, a good fit for the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals and objectives, and who has the necessary skills for the organization. To insure the organization’s operations are not interrupted while the board of directors assesses the leadership needs and recruits a permanent executive officer, the board will appoint interim executive leadership as described below. The interim chief executive officer shall ensure that the organization continues to operate without disruption and that all organizational commitments previously made are adequately executed, including but not limited to, loans approved, reports due, contracts, licenses, certifications, memberships, obligations to lenders or investors of the [ORGANIZATION], and others.

It is also the policy of the [ORGANIZATION], to develop a diverse pool of candidates and consider at least three finalist candidates for its permanent CEO position. The [ORGANIZATION], shall implement an external recruitment and selection process, while at the same time encouraging the professional development and advancement of current employees. The interim CEO and any other interested internal candidates are encouraged to submit their qualifications for review and consideration by the transition committee according to the guidelines established for the search and recruitment process.

Procedures for Succession:

For a temporary change in executive leadership (i.e., illness or leave of absence) refer to the organization’s Personnel Guidebook. In the event the chief executive officer (CEO) of the [ORGANIZATION], is no longer able to serve in this position (i.e., leaves the position permanently), the executive committee of the board of directors shall do the following:

1. Within 5 business days appoint an interim CEO according to the following line of succession:
  • 1. chief operating officer (COO) of [ORGANIZATION]

    2. senior vice president of the parent affiliate of the [ORGANIZATION]

    3. external consultant (with experience as an interim executive director)

2. Within 15 business days appoint an executive transition committee, in the event that a permanent change in leadership is required. This committee shall be comprised of at least one member of the executive committee and two members of the board of directors. It shall be the responsibility of this committee to implement the following preliminary transition plan:
  • 1. Communicate with key stakeholders regarding actions taken by the board in naming an interim successor, appointing a transition committee, and implementing the succession policy. The organization shall maintain a current list of key stakeholders who must be contacted, such as lenders and investors of the [ORGANIZATION], foundations, government agencies, and other.

    2. Consider the need for consulting assistance (i.e., transition management or executive search consultant) based on the circumstances of the transition.

    3. Review the organization’s business plan and conduct a brief assessment of organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to identify priority issues that may need to be addressed during the transition process and to identify attributes and characteristics that are important to consider in the selection of the next permanent leader.

    4. Establish a time frame and plan for the recruitment and selection process.

    5. Refer to the CEO Hiring Policy and Procedures in the Personnel Guidebook for additional procedures.

The board should use similar procedures in case of an executive transition that simultaneously involves the chief executive officer and other key management. In such instance, the board may also consider temporarily subcontracting some of the organizational functions from trained consultant or other organizations.

From India, Ahmadabad

I have covered the subject in a lengthy approach to come to

grips with all the elements involved.

Succession planning is a part of the process of preparing for the future of your company. Does this mean you should only plan a succession path for your CEO? Suggest that virtually every key position and key person in your organization is a candidate for a succession plan. The important impact is that it is virtually impossible to successfully promote someone unless there is a trained person to take over the position being vacated.


To effectively implement a succession plan, you need to include/consider a number of elements:

What is the long-term direction of your company?

Do you have an effective strategic plan guiding your course and direction?

What are the key areas which require continuity and development of the people resources within your company?

Who are the key people you want to develop and nurture for the future?

How does the concept of succession planning fit into your strategies? Are you concentrating your efforts in the areas where the returns will be highest?

What are the career paths that your most talented people should be following? Is each path customized to fit the abilities and talents of the people involved? The point here is to be sure you do not do this by rote: a plan that is not dynamic, that does not include the consideration of the individual’s involved, is not usually as effective as one that is tailored to each individuals needs and capabilities.

Should you wait for openings to appear before promoting someone, or should you make opportunities for each individual as they grow and mature, so that you can keep them challenged and stimulated, and not lose them to other, possibly faster moving companies? Your plan should be proactive, with people moving into different areas for experience and training before they are needed in critical positions, rather than reactive - waiting for openings to occur, then scurrying around to find an appropriate candidate at the last second.

What strategies should you be considering for your succession planning process? First, realize that one size doesn’t fit all. There are different approaches which may be used, depending on the situation in each company. In some cases, a company may have to move some people along quickly, in order to expose them to a broad range of experiences, and possibly to fill vacancies. In others, a deeper involvement in selected departments or disciplines may be indicated. Some of this will depend on the culture and processes of the company. In yet other cases, decisions about the process will depend on the individual’s capabilities and competencies, and the structure and operations of the company. In virtually all situations, your ability to educate and promote will depend on the capabilities and strengths of the people who currently occupy the key positions, and where they will be going in the future - what are they being groomed for?

SUCCESSION planning is an element of career management process.

It is an outcome of

-corporate strategic planning

-corporate objectives

-corporate strategy.

Hence you need to review this in detail.


Outline for Succession Planning

Define where you currently are in your succession planning process.

What positions are you planning for?

What key people have you designated for succeeding to higher positions?

Where are they in their experience, education and training schedules?

What has changed since your last review?

What other candidates can you identify, either for future needs or to replace people who were in the process and either left your company or did not work out as expected?

What has changed inside your company which might alter where you have been planning to go with your succession plan?

How have the current candidates performed to date?

What jobs have changed, and how have they changed, since your last review?

What new opportunities, technologies and other issues have emerged

which may lead to change in the succession plan, its objectives or tactics?

Define where you want your succession plan to take you, especially in light of your current strategic plan.

What will you look like in three to five years and what will your key people be doing then?

What openings will you need to fill due to attrition, promotion or expansion?

What new disciplines will the company require, and how will you fill them?

How does your succession plan fit with your expectation of where your company, your markets and your internal situation will likely be going?

Define how you will get from where you are today to what you want the company to look like at the end of your current planning horizon.

Who will be involved and what will each be doing?

When will they start and end each part of the process and how will you judge their progress?

What criteria will be used to determine each candidate’s ongoing fitness for his or her career path?

Does each candidate offer and demonstrate continuing potential and progress toward meeting the requirements you have established?

On what basis will you determine if someone is not progressing appropriately, and what can you do to help that person develop to the fullest extent?

What alternatives can you offer those who are not meeting expectations?

Once a plan is in place and people are in the process of being groomed for higher responsibilities and positions, where do you go from here? As indicated above, this is an ongoing process. You establish goals, select candidates, establish training and educational processes, initiate the process of selecting and training with each individual, and monitor developments. As the Simplified Strategic Planning process teaches, you continually update your status, review your assumptions about where you want to go and how you will get there, modify your strategies and the resulting actions/action plans, and continually feed back environmental developments. As your situation changes, you alter your objectives to match the appropriate strategies, make mid-course corrections, and continue your ongoing management processes as a part of the regular course of business.

At each planning interval (usually annually), you will go through the entire process just as you go through your Strategic Planning process. You ask the same types of questions, make the same types of analyses as enunciated above, make whatever changes and modifications are indicated by the circumstances, update your goals and procedures, and proceed with the ongoing processes. Where you need additional talent, you perform appropriate searches, both inside and outside the company. You are basically limited by your resources, both human and capital, and your needs, and how far your “headlights” allow you to see into the future. Will you be totally correct? No, it is not likely you will get it totally right. But, you will get better as you do this process on a regular basis, and you will get better with time and repetition. You have the on-going advantage of being able to make mid-course corrections, so you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

Succession Planning

focus on a particular step in the succession-planning process.

Develop a communication strategy

Identify expected vacancies

Determine critical positions

Identify current and future competencies for positions

Develop a recruitment strategy

Create assessment and selection tools

Supplement HR functions to include active recruiting and staffing

Identify gaps in current employee and candidate competency levels

Develop Individual Development Plans for employees

Develop and implement coaching and mentoring programs

Assist with leadership transition and development

Develop an evaluation plan for succession management


Data Input Table

Critical Role Selection

Organisation Hierarchy

Competency Data by role/position

Manager Ratings

Employee Aspirations

Employee Readiness

Employee History

Performance Rating

HR Rating (High Potential and Others)

Data Outputs Table

Critical Role List

Role List without nominated successors

Nominated Successors Short List (Based on weighted data which is customized)

Full Succession Plan

High Potential Report

Readiness Report

Drill down to individual Development Plans – ensure development is appropriate for the individual

Management development plans/career counseling/mentoring/

management training/ education.

The system provides you with instant answers across your entire Talent Pool. Succession Planning is now available not just for the executive team but for your entire Talent Pool.

Development Spend

Once you have implemented a Succession Planning system, you are then able to identify your High Potential Talent pool and focus your Development budget on your staff with the highest potential and best organisational fit.

Performance Management & Succession Planning for FUTURE

You can safeguard the future viability by actively taking control of performance management and succession planning. In today's tight labour market, it builds the next-generation workforce by helping with retaining and motivating employees and reducing exposure to the loss of key people.

At a operational level,

- Building and maintaining a flexible and user-defined

competency framework

- Employee assessment (including 360°)

- Job profiling

- Career planning

- Organisation charting

Maintaining up-to-date employee information to help fill vacancies and resource projects, including:

- Key performance indicators

- Ad hoc competency searching

- Graphical development needs analysis

- Graphical competency displays

- Development records (recording courses taken,

Continuous Professional Development hours for learning


- Records of appraisal

- Project planning

- Key result areas

At a strategic level,

- Effective manpower planning by helping to identify skills and

competency gaps

- Developing employees to meet company expansion plans

and providing clear career paths

- Succession planning/charting

- Creating valuable business intelligence

- Assessing and evaluating the Human Resource function

Skillfully done, succession planning will bring the peace of mind that senior management should have, based on the understanding and expectations of its future leadership.

hope this is useful to you



From India, Mumbai
To Ajmal Mirza and Leo Lingham thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and expertise on this subject succession planning. Definitely, many HR people will be grateful and will benefit from your sharing so again, Thank You to both of you. Hope to get more ideas from both of you with regards to HR matters.
James Earl T. Gabule

From Philippines, Cagayan De Oro

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