Your leaders have worked hard to make your business a success and you want to ensure that it continues to grow and thrive well into the future. But what would happen if they suddenly had to retire due to illness, or the company lost key staff members who might be capable of taking over the reins in their absence? Would the business be prepared to carry on without compromising its survival? Do you have a succession plan in place for such an event?


What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is a strategy just as critical to any organisation as its goals and objectives. It is how a business ensures continuity in its key leadership roles, and thus, its sustainability and success. But all too often, succession planning is not considered relevant or even necessary until it’s already too late.

Succession planning is the way a business identifies and develops its future leaders. Effective succession planning also highlights competency gaps within the organisation that might prevent continuity in the event of a sudden staffing change. Planning for the future is essential to eliminating, or at least reducing, the potential risks of operating in an ever-changing work environment. It should not be a process that only begins when key staff members suddenly resign or retire.


Why is Succession Planning Important?

When key roles are vacant, there is a knock-on effect for the entire organisation. It impacts the decision-making process, causes delays in critical activities, and can lead to loss of market competitiveness and failure to meet customer service expectations. It can also have a detrimental effect on staff morale and the organisational culture. Lack of leadership direction is frustrating for junior staff and often cited as one of the key factors in turnover rates.


5 Steps to Succession Planning

Succession planning should be an inclusive process. There is nothing to be gained from pushing people into positions they are either not ready for or not capable of filling. Current employees are the obvious, and less costly, source of potential candidates, but you may also have to look further afield to find the right talent.

The five steps below form a solid framework on which to build your succession plan:

  1. Identify your organisation’s critical positions.
  2. Identify the key competencies required in those critical positions.
  3. Identify high performers and talented candidates for potential development and progression.
  4. Identify development strategies – training, mentoring.
  5. Implement the plan.


How to Identify Your Future Leaders

Leadership is one of those qualities that is hard to measure. We know that great leaders possess a certain charisma that is a combination of several skills and attributes. But how do you identify and hire them, and continue to develop their innate talents to fit the leadership role in your organisation?

It all begins with fine tuning the profile of the leadership role you are looking to fill. Different types of leaders require different skills, for example, depending on whether they are more involved in the big picture or working alongside staff on the front line or ground floor.

Personality assessments, such as we offer at Caliper, are an excellent resource for this purpose. The Caliper Profile can not only help you assess potential external applicants for the role, but also identify the most likely successful candidates already working within your organisation. It will also enable you to pinpoint weaknesses or competency gaps that may affect your succession plan, allowing you to investigate appropriate training and development solutions.

Every successful organisation, from small non-profits to large scale corporations, needs a succession plan to ensure its survival extends beyond the life of its current leaders. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task and it’s definitely not something you should put off.


With Caliper’s help you can quickly and efficiently clarify the leadership role, identify potential candidates and get to work developing and nurturing their talents.

Contact us at  to learn more about our Caliper Profile and how we can help ensure your long-term business success.