My company is developing a system to identify, develop and place the future leaders of the company.

A past effort to do this was derailed because it hurt too many feelings. But we feel that the culture is more ready this time around. And we need it. We are a company of 3000 employees and over the next 10 years every top exec in the company will be retiring.

My Question: What is the best way we can ensure success this time around?

rikt's picture

I can't say our methods have been highly successful, but certainly they have helped my career. Each manager is responsible for their succession plan, then hands it up to their manager. This has really gotten easier for me now that my directs and their directs are doing O3s. We now know who wants to move up, who is happy where they are at and who are well placed. This has given us the ability to meet quarterly to conduct a combined talent review with succession planning. Because we have a great amount of information collected throughout the year, largely the hard work is done for us. Feelings do get hurt at times, everyone wants their employees to get the brass ring, the next promotion, etc.

Our firm is global, so we face not only regional differences in what makes defines a talented employee, but now it differs by continent and culture.

I think I could write a rather long winded article on the major differences between continents and culture as to what makes a great employee.

As with anything my advice to is just do it. You can't fail at this until you try, then together as a group you tweak it next time you get together. There really is no easy way, you and your organization has to determine what makes a great leader, not necessarily a manager. Does that position require leadership skills OR manager skills or both? Each job may require a mix of the both.

bkaiser's picture

I think the key to success is to ensure that everyone is rated on the same core competencies that can be evaluated regardless of the department or region. I've seen compentencies that are so broad and generic that it becomes completely subjective with no way to allow the cream to rise to the top.

Once the competencies are chosen, there needs to be a defined set of behaviors to correspond with those competencies. Keep in mind that those behaviors look different at each level of any organization so you are rating the SVP on a different set of behaviors and expectations than you are the supervisor.

Remove as much subjectivity as possible and you will diminish the hurt feelings and allow those deserving to move up.