The Case for Succession Planning to Mitigate Risk: 3 Ways to Create a Talent Pipeline

The leaders of tomorrow’s top organizations are being made today.

Are you priming your junior staff to be the next executives by empowering them to develop a leadership mindset that mitigates the business challenges of today?

Mentorship and education are not just nice-to-haves – they’re absolute musts for building resilient and future-proof teams.

However, in my experience consulting multinational companies and organizations on their operational practices, proper onboarding, training, and development are often areas that tend to fall short.

Yet, they’re crucial. Implementing the proper systems and processes for succession planning and consistently applying them will not only improve your personnel, their capacities, and set you up for long-term success, but it will also improve your operations overall – starting today.

How? Because you minimize risk. When a setback or full-on crisis happens, you have people in place who can step into roles beyond their own because they feel confident, prepared, and knowledgeable.

Succession planning begins with creating a talent pipeline. Get people in the door, train and mentor them, and put them in real-life situations. Let’s examine how this looks in practice.

1) Create internship programs

Building your talent pipeline starts with attracting the right people, especially ones who can come in with fresh eyes. Take advantage of the talent pool from your local universities and colleges who need an internship to complete their studies by establishing an internship program.

Interns come in with academic experience, outside perspective, and life experience – all of which lend well to spotting potential holes in your organization. But getting interns through the door and straight to work is not enough; it’s vital that they receive the training and mentorship they need to succeed and grow, which leads to the next step.

It’s important to note that interns don’t have to come from traditional avenues of higher education. Depending on your organization’s needs, high school students, folks working through re-entry, and other vehicles are also options to explore.

2) Establish mentoring within the organization

For junior staff to step into the roles of those who came before them, they need them as their mentors. And I don’t just mean shadowing someone throughout their day; there should be dedicated time to nurture someone into their next role.

Here are some examples: first, coach young talent through potential scenarios and incidents. I say potential because you want to do this before the situation happens and not have them figure it out while it’s happening. (I talk more about planning for incident response here). If you want them to be an executive one day, teach them how to make those big decisions now so they can handle a crisis when it arises.

Another key to mentorship is allowing talent to learn strategy; in other words, providing them with opportunities to solve problems and supporting them through the process (this is a tip inspired by a 3M Study on Innovation). Succession planning requires developing critical thinking skills to innovate, strategize, and find solutions – not just adhering to a prescribed business model or the ‘way things have always been done’.

3) Practice with real-life scenarios

Effective succession planning can’t hinge on theory and “one-day-in-the-future” thinking alone. It starts today, and it continues until the day the next person takes the reins.

Begin by exposing your talent to the things they aren’t “supposed to” be exposed to. For example, bring them into senior meetings to participate in important company decisions and give them the space to ask questions and contribute to the decision-making process. If they received the crisis and response training from step two, another way to introduce exposure is by bringing them in to support during an incident.

Remember: one day, you won’t be there for them to turn to. So before that happens, set them up to be autonomous and confident.

The Showpiece Difference

Most consultants tell you how to make things better today. They come in, point out a few quick changes, likely stroke your ego, and then collect their paycheck and go on their merry way.

We’re not about that. At Showpiece Solutions, we want to get you thinking about your longevity and long-term success. To do that, we have to do some deep work. We require looking at all the potential scenarios – all the “what ifs”. We focus on what’s possible to accomplish in the present that will prepare you for the future.

Organizations are only as good as their teams. Every team member has the capacity to reach their full potential when they’re properly trained, mentored, and (gradually and consistently) thrown into the ring. When we work together, we’re not just working with your executives and C-suites; we’re already looking at who will be the next to replace them.

Let us help you minimize risk in your organization by implementing a succession planning strategy. Get in touch with us below, and let’s get started.

Succession Planning