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How well does your organization do succession planning for key positions?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 170,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How well does your organization do succession planning for key positions?

  • Extremely well: We all know who’s next in line for any position: 2.94%
  • Well: We know who the next level of talent is for most positions: 22.79%
  • Fair: Some positions are planned for, but many are not: 42.28%
  • Poorly: If we lose a critical player, it creates succession chaos: 31.99%

Next! Who’s next? Unfortunately, 75% of us aren’t sure. People leave organizations all of the time. Your job as a leader is to keep that organization humming. One way to do so is to avoid the inevitable business interruption of someone departing the organization. The best way to do that is with rigorous succession planning. Don’t get lazy and say, “That’s an HR function.” Human resources is there to facilitate that discussion, but it’s your responsibility as a leader to identify key positions and have a list of who’s next in line for those spots. That also enables you to train them in advance so transitions will be smooth.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”

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