All Fortune 500 and small businesses need to ensure that they have the talent necessary to effectively lead their organizations in the future. The irony is that larger organizations with significant talent pools tend to have succession plans while smaller organizations don’t.

One of the most significant contributions leaders can make is ensuring their business’ continuity and sustainability – by having employees who are willing and capable of filling each key position with a plan for doing so when the need arises.

Through a Succession Plan an organization addresses – for each of its key positions – questions such as:


  • What the organization would do if it had to fill the position tomorrow 
  • Whether there is, at least, one successor who could immediately perform the duties of each position 
  • If there is no successor ready now, what will need to be done to enable the best internal candidate to be ready and by when 
  • Can the organization afford to wait, or would it be better to recruit a replacement

  • During Talent Review Succession Planning meetings, the leadership team in a disciplined fashion
  • Asks each leader to report on the status of the Individual Development Plans for each of their ‘A’ Players and High Potentials
  • Ensures that each ‘A’ Player and High Potential is receiving regular coaching and is actively involved in opportunities that will help retain them while accelerating their development

Not having a Succession Plan can be costly and sometimes disastrous. It’s expensive to recruit, interview, select, on-board and train a replacement – and significant opportunity costs are incurred when a key position is not being performed. While Succession Planning increases the levels of engagement and performance of ‘A’ Players and High Potentials – the talent most needed in the future.
By Pete Tosh, Founder of The Focus Group