The Long Game: Planning for Succession

20 April 2021
3 minute
The Long Game Planning for Succession

The market thinks:

If someone’s good at their job, they’ll make an excellent leader in the future.  

Thomas knows:

Businesses actually need to factor in personality when it comes to planning workforce succession. 

Do you ever feel like your job resembles a game of chess? Not only do you have to think about the next promotion, you need to consider your longer-term plans too. 

Succession planning is all about identifying and developing new leaders so there’s always someone ready to step up when the time comes. But it’s not as simple as promoting the next-most-senior team member. Instead, you should be developing the people who demonstrate leadership potential. Who are able to make decisions that benefit the business as a whole. Who can think strategically. And who is able to bring other people along with their vision. But, with everyone having their own unique strengths and skills, it can be hard to know who to develop for future leadership opportunities. 

Top performer ≠ best leader

Many businesses don’t fully understand what leadership potential looks like. That’s because the skills required in lower-level jobs don’t often match up with the skills required in management positions. For instance, your top sales person might seem like the natural fit for a sales manager role. But the truth is, the competitive nature which helps them excel on the sales floor might be disastrous in a management role. Besides, wouldn’t you rather they continued bringing in all that revenue? And wouldn’t they prefer to keep doing a job they’re brilliant at?

Who wants to be a manager?

First, you need to identify who, out of your existing team, could succeed as a future leader. With our range of assessments, you can gain in-depth and comparable people insights based on behaviour, aptitude and personality. Next, you need to understand which people want to become leaders – and why. Some people might only be interested in the material possessions a higher salary can bring. Others might want to contribute more to the team, or feel like they’d thrive in a more strategic position. Our assessments can help you identify leadership potential (even in people who haven’t identified it in themselves). They can also help you get to the heart of people’s motivations, and conduct insightful, productive development conversations. 

Crafting future leaders

So, that’s how you identify the people with the highest leadership potential. Your next job is getting them ready for the jobs you’ve earmarked. Understanding people’s personalities is your ticket to successfully managing development plans and getting people ready for the future. 

With Thomas, you can:  

  • Understand how to train people effectively.  
  • Identify weaker skills/areas that require development.  
  • Spot traits that might derail teams 

Top takeaways

You’ve got to understand personalities before planning lines of succession. Doing this will also help you manage development plans and get people ready for when you need them.  

Is someone challenging? Curious? Competitive? Understanding how far each person leans towards a certain trait – and what that might mean for their leadership style – can help you develop them to be just what your business needs.

Read our full manifesto for guidance on how to identify and develop the correct people in your team for success.

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