Succession Planning Puts Focus on Future Business Needs

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NEW YORKThe economy is reportedly turning around—whether we feel it yet or not. In 2010, optical companies will want to focus on cultivating in-house talent to cut down on recruitment costs. Vision Monday contributing editor Hedley Lawson tells us how:


The need for succession planning is nothing new in the optical industry or any other business for that matter. Whether a company pays attention to it or not, the succession of people is often the difference in an organization’s sustainable success.

The goal of succession planning is to identify a “talent pool” that can be developed in preparation for future responsibilities and considers not only past performance but the future potential of the individual. Succession planning anticipates changing business needs and prepares the talent pool to meet these future needs rather than replicating what the organization has right now. Put another way, succession planning is “future focused.”

Listed below are several key elements of succession planning:

1. Key Positions

Succession planning is not only for the top levels in the organization and it is not intended for every position in the organization. In defining your succession planning strategy, identify your most important positions, some of which may not be the most obvious.

• Determine the importance of the role on the organization. What value does it have to the organization’s success?

• Determine the ease or difficulty of replacement. Is there a large pool of internal or external talent?

2. Position Requirements

Identify the key competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics) of the position.

• Begin with the business strategy and what you must have to be successful.

• Use competencies to differentiate levels. Competencies needed for your sales professionals should be different than competencies for your sales managers.

3. Current Talent Identification

Knowing your current talent pool is essential. Do you have up and coming talent potential within the organization? Where are the gaps?

4. Requirements for Key Positions

Many organizations create a Succession Plan, yet fail to develop, grow or retain the talent they have targeted.

• Identify critical competencies for current and future roles.

• Provide growth opportunities, such as job rotation, mentoring, education or skill-building activities.

• Hold all managers as accountable for the growth of their people.

Taking a proactive approach to succession planning that incorporates these four imperatives will be key to your organization’s continued success.