5 Steps of Effective Succession Planning

Published: Aug 16, 2022
Modified: Apr 08, 2024


From American Management Association

An organization is only as good as its people, it’s often said. So, to keep good people and ensure the stability and success of your organization, it’s vital to manage the succession of talent. When done with care and consistency, succession management minimizes the gaps in leadership by developing high-potential talent for possible future roles. In addition, effective success planning creates loyalty and secures your organization’s good reputation—and your own legacy as a leader—for decades to come.    

The smooth transition of talent up the ranks doesn’t just happen naturally; yet, unfortunately, many organizations treat succession planning as an afterthought. Succession planning is a process that demands ongoing attention and company-wide support. The experts at American Management Association (AMA), a global leader in professional development for nearly 100 years, offer five steps to guide your succession planning efforts: 

Step #1: Business review. In this critical first step, you’ll take time to consider your organization’s business strategy and what it means in terms of the leaders you’ll need. For example: Are you a start-up with an eye on growth? Do you need to turn the business around? Realign to a new business model? Or sustain or increase your success? Your answers will help determine the qualities of your future leaders.  

Step #2: Talent needs forecast. In this step, you’ll focus on how many people you’ll require in critical roles to meet your organization’s future needs. What experiences and skills are you looking for in your organization’s future leaders? And, importantly, how will you choose the right people to fill these roles?  

Step #3: Talent inventory. In this step, you’ll take stock of your organization’s current talent. Do you presently have the right people in the right positions? Where are they now in their development? What is each individual’s potential and for what roles?

Step #4: Talent review. In this step, you’ll take a close look at your organization’s investment in developing talent. What plans do you have for developing people within the company for possible future leadership roles? What could be done to improve your company’s current approach to employee learning and development? What resources do you need to make that happen?  

Step #5: Follow-up and progress reviews. This step is where all the time, care and work you’ve invested in the previous steps pay off. Are development plans being implemented? How are you monitoring them? And are they delivering results? And if not, what changes need to be made to improve them?

No company that aims to stay in business can afford to neglect succession planning. Being aware of this five-step process will help make sure that your organization never lacks the leaders it needs for ongoing success.     

About AMA

American Management Association (AMA) is globally recognized as a leader in professional development. For nearly 100 years, it has helped millions of people bring about positive change in their performance in order to improve results. AMA’s learn-by-doing instructor-led methods, extensive content and flexible learning formats are proven effective—and constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations. To learn more, visit www.amanet.org.