Is it time to plan for a new CEO (or two)?
PA’s Ashley Harshak and Clare Roberts, people and change experts, comment on CEO succession planning in an article in FT Ignites.
The articles discuses the need for companies to have a robust CEO succession plan and why it’s a key priority for boards.
Adding to this discussion, Ashley explains that succession plans are "rarely kept up to date and can often be based on wishful thinking.” Adding that, "companies can find the plan includes people who don't want the job or whose plans have changed."
Ashley explains that succession plans should ideally include external candidates, to ensure the bar is set high, but also internal candidates who are more likely to be appointed.
Ashely says: "That makes it vital that succession plans are clear about the development needs of internal candidates," and this usually includes some form of guidance on how to operate at board level and manage senior external stakeholder relationships. "Mentoring from those with CEO experience is increasingly being used to support internal candidates."
The article goes on to discuss the importance of mentoring within succession planning to help build succession capability and encourage diversity of perspectives.
Commenting on this, Clare says that organisations must "radically rethink their approach to succession planning to respond to employees' very different career expectations and purpose-driven aspirations."
Saying:, "Plans should reflect diverse preferences, different backgrounds and look for atypical candidates." The development of this next generation of leaders needs to be an embedded and explicit requirement of existing leaders."
Further to this Clare comments thatsuccession plans should “encourage those with high potential to test themselves with unusual and stretching experiences in and outside the organisation.”
Adding "The plans should focus on building and enhancing strengths but accept this can be achieved in new ways.They should assume high-potential candidates will leave the organisation at some point but could return with a broader range of skills and perspectives."