A research company has the succession planning process as a follow-up process on the yearly appraisal rounds. For the top 4 levels in each department it is discussed what are the critical gaps in the upcoming year and the two years following and who might be eligible to fill the gap and what is needed for him/her to succeed. Its a form driven communicative approach which serves also another goal: reflecting on the future and working together as a management team.

An insurance company needed a new country lead. There had been some challenges in the past, challenges that were driven by culture gone by. The UK parent company wanted a change in the local structure. A new era needed to be entered with the new country lead. As the culture of the firm was fixed in ‘this is how we did it and we know each other and we are a family’, it was a very sensitive matter, not just to be solved by forcing the leadership change by appointing someone from the UK HQ. Workerscouncil was consulted and the role description and vacancy was open to all. A three round process and an assessment on top was held. A coaching process afterwards to get to a successful on boarding was arranged. This dates from 2008, the country lead is still there, thriving.


And as I love processes…..

Every One know this chart:

Take it one step further and fill per department utip three or four levels down from the manager this chart. Feed it up and in the end there is an overview. You think you know this by heart. But you don’t because it is about the discussion it will invoke that makes it worthwhile. And upper management gets the picture…


Succession Chart

This chart is a key part of the process as it identifies potential successors for key positions, and importantly also identifies where there may be organisational risk, if there is no strong succession for some key roles.

The steps to complete this chart are:

1.In the top key position box (current leader), you should put yourself.

  1. Within the succession box immediately below the top key box, denote potential successors by name, title, & business unit for your position.
  2. If there is more then one successor in each box, number them in order of preference
  3. Continue to populate the chart to look at successors for the positions held by your direct reports.


Potential successors can be from outside your Business unit or outside the company – it’s important to think more broadly than just your function/country. If you believe there may be other individuals in other business units that could be potential successors for one or more of the positions, then use the following indicators also: