I can see how the Royal Family goes about its succession planning: have children. But what about businesses where bloodlines are irrelevant? Where do we expect our future managers and directors to come from?
When most companies need a new decision maker, they go externally and try to identify the right person to take the company forwards. Work out elaborate ways to identify talented people and then sift through CVs with the words "natural born leader" or "works best in a crisis" (p.s. no one works best in a crisis, it's an oxymoron). All the while hoping other companies have been training the right candidate.
Or we decide that we want to promote people from within our organisation. For this to work we actually need to do some planning, I am hearing the words Talent Management at board level but see very little being done on the shop floor. It seems Apprentice-style initiatives come and go with no real continuous measurement or strategy.
From what I've seen it can be quite simple: work out the skills individuals need to do a job at a particular level, then make sure everyone currently at that level has all the right skills. You now have time to make sure you have a Succession Programme that creates a pool of people who have the skills required to step up.
I understand there are specialisms, but if your Social Media guy one day wants to be known as the Marketing Director, there will be skill gaps that need filling. These specialists can also help when it comes to plugging gaps,. If you have a group of people weak on social media for example, and a social media expert who is willing to talk to real people, an inexpensive training day can be facilitated.
Most companies understand the cost of losing good people or having to pay headhunters for new ones, but it feels like too many organisations have resigned themselves to the nomadic employee, so avoid spending too much on personnel development.
Is it better to have an unskilled team that no one wants or a team that is continually developing so it doesn't want to leave?