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Succession Planning 101: What You Need to Know
Life and Style Daily
July 16, 2022
2 min

Small and large organizations need a comprehensive strategy that will handle management transitions. Top business leaders may retire in a few years, while other employees may leave or move to higher positions. These scenarios may affect your usual operations and cause them not to go as smoothly as before.

That’s where succession planning comes into play.

This article will define succession planning and the steps needed to create your own. It will also discuss some of the best practices from the leading brands across various industries.

What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is a standardized strategy to prepare individuals as they take on new and higher roles in a business. It is a long-term process that aims to evaluate the most critical positions and ensure they don’t become vacant.

How to Create a Succession Plan?

Establishing a working succession plan ensures that your transition to another employee will go smoothly. You would need a good mix of the following key stages to create a strategy that works well for the organization:

  1. Establish key positions
  2. Evaluate competency profile
  3. Provide training opportunities
  4. Assess and identify a successor

We’ll take a more in-depth look at each stage in this section.

1. Establish key positions

The first crucial step when creating a succession plan is establishing all the critical roles in the company. This includes positions that would cause massive changes in your operations when left unfilled.

2. Evaluate competency profile

From the key roles you’ve identified, the next step is to create a competency profile. Competency profiles provide a detailed look at the experiences, qualifications, and skills needed in every position.

3. Provide training opportunities

Top-performing employees don’t always equate to success. Because of this, it’s important to execute a development plan that would provide opportunities for growth among your workforce.

4. Assess and identify a successor

A succession plan is long-term. Hence, it’s essential to closely monitor your employees and see whether they’re fit for a particular position. You can evaluate their skills, personalities, and more through:

  • Interviews
  • Assessments
  • Speaking engagements
  • Integrity tests
  • Personality tests

Best Succession Planning Practices From Companies

Executing a succession plan is equally important as creating it. Of course, there’s always a risk that it will go downhill. But implementing it well can bring long-term benefits to the organization.

Let’s look at some of the best practices from leading companies.

McCormick & Co.

When McCormick & Co. transitioned from former CEO Robert Lawless to Alan Wilson, it executed a well-established, comprehensive, and transparent succession plan. Lawless monitored the progress and skills of his employees for several years before deciding on his successor.


Apple is still one of the leading brands worldwide despite its transition from CEO Steve Jobs to Tim Cook. Through Apple University, all Apple employees are given opportunities to think, decide, and act like Jobs. Their learning materials are personalized and greatly based on his experiences.


Succession planning is valuable to organizations. It allows you to look into the skills and abilities of employees to ensure that they’re fit for the new role. Hence, it can protect your organization from sudden changes, prevent operational disruptions, and preserve your brand’s overall reputation.

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