Worried About Your Succession Plan? Focus on Your Processes, Not Your Leaders.

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Many businesses are very worried about “succession planning” or not having a strong talent “bench” in the company. In order to try to combat this problem, they do a number of things, like 9-box talent reviews and leadership training.

These things, especially at higher levels in the company, are fine and usually helpful. But it’s often more important than succession planning to have well-defined and documented processes.

Even if a strong leader or other key employee leaves, having good processes ensures efficacy and scalability. There are three main ways to have great processes for your business:

1. Emphasis on performance and evaluations for signoff

2. Benchmark the top performers from your

3. Cover all the foundations

Most businesses do none of these things. But when they do, it’s a game-changer. And what’s nice about these things is that they make it all very clear and simple. They distil into their tangible essence a lot of data, thoughts and feelings.

“In reality, you will probably say to yourself, “Wow, when you see the completed product of your work around this, a proper Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). That seems so obvious and clear.” And yet, until you did it, it never existed.” Finally, you put in crystal-clear words for everyone to see what was innately understood or felt by some people (but not everyone) but could not really articulate.

1 . Emphasis on performance and evaluations for signoff

A result you make is an effect. A person, place, or thing is a noun. But it has to be more profound than that.

What you have to do is to incorporate an adjective, adjective phrase or descriptor that describes the noun in terms based on a standard that proves the correct or successful outcome. That is the actual result that you are looking for.

So your real outcome would probably be something like a completed widget or a defect-free widget in the case of a manufacturing company that produces widgets. In the case of a service company, your result may be customer satisfaction or disputes resolved.

The desired result for a doctor is a patient who is cured or a healthy person.

You will need to further define how you judge whether the descriptor has been obtained in almost all instances. I call this a “signoff test.” The questions leading to the answers are from the examples above: How do you know when a customer is “satisfied?” ”

How do you know when “resolved” is a dispute? “ How do you know when a patient is “cured? How is it that you justify a person being “healthy?” ”

It’s hard work to think about and define at times. Consider this, however. If it’s hard for you to describe, how do you think people know what to do with your company? Frequently, they don’t. And that is why performance is so variable and when someone leaves, you struggle so much.

2. Benchmark your top performers

This is the “secret sauce” to how your company can succeed. In his book Exemplary Performance, Paul Elliott is the pioneer of this.

Benchmarking your top performers allows you to deliberately replicate the organization’s best performance, which is something you need to do to make sure that your business is as successful as possible.

Here are the general steps for how to do this:

Find out what the ideal effects for the whole enterprise are.

Find out the tasks that lead most to the desired results of your company.

Figure out in those roles who the top performers are.

Observe and / or interview the top performers formally.

Create an Exemplary Performance Profile (PEP) or Role Excellence Profile (REP) based on the top performers’ observations.

Create the documentation of the SOP.

Enforce the latest SOPs.

3. Protect all the pillars

Covering all the bases requires ensuring that the key information of the SOPs are used. They’re not going to be as useful if you don’t, and that’s going to be another issue you’re going to need to deal with.

With their process documentation, one of the biggest mistakes companies make is that they only list what individuals need to do, but not how they need to do it or how to understand when it’s done.

There are eight primary elements of proper SOP documentation:

1. Specific desired outcome

2. Test for Signoff

3. Duties

4. The Triggers

5. The Duration

6. Important stakeholders

7. Flow-making decision-making

8. Potential de-railers, implications, solutions

The SOP is the basis for creating a common language that can be repurposed related to the process or subject throughout the business, thus creating natural alignment and a shared understanding of what needs to be done and produced.

Proper practises and SOPs are what can help guarantee that in your sector you still have strong succession planning and bench power. Whenever there is turnover, they will make new leaders and staff productive much more quickly.




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Alex Pantin

Alex Pantin

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