Views

Avoid these mistakes to find future company CEO

Spotting potential is key to identifying great leaders for your organisation

Whether you are a chief executive officer (CEO) or a human capital leader, here is the cold hard fact - no organisation can grow without great leadership and the average CEO's tenure is about nine years.

The bottom line is this: You need to be intentional about who will be leading your organisation in 10 years.

And the clock is ticking.

There may not be a single right way to execute succession planning, but here are some common mistakes you can avoid:

MISTAKE #1: MAKING TOP PERFORMERS YOUR SUCCESSION PLAN

A person's outstanding performance in his current position does not necessarily predict outstanding performance at the next level.

Ask questions like these to look at potential for leadership excellence:

  • Who asks great questions that push us beyond the status quo?
  • Who is always learning more and connecting new ideas to our overarching goals?
  • Who has the influence (even without formal authority) to advance ideas for making things work better?
  • Who has a knack for seeing what other people do well and positioning them to succeed in the process of achieving bigger picture team goals?
  • Who do people naturally turn to for answers, advice or a listening ear?
  • Who elevates the game and the intensity of other players when he walks onto the field?
  • Who manages change and conflict in ways that keep people focused on achievement?

 

MISTAKE #2: RELYING ON SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENTS OF LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL

You are making a mistake if succession candidates are selected based primarily on individual manager recommendations.

Decision by committee or consensus isn't much better. Here are some specific things you can do to objectify the process: 

  • Identify objectively measurable qualities shared by next-level leaders who have historically been successful in your organisation. Then use multiple raters to evaluate each candidate on those qualities.
  • Use a validated assessment tool that measures leadership potential to predict next-level leadership performance.

MISTAKE #3: PLANNING ONLY FOR THE C-SUITE

If you're creating succession plans only for the C-suite (top management), you have the potential to leave gaping leadership holes when the time comes to promote your internal candidates into those C-suite roles.

You should be planning for succession at every step in the organisation's hierarchy, from individual performer to the C-suite.

MISTAKE #4: THINKING YOUR WORK IS DONE ONCE YOU'VE IDENTIFIED POTENTIAL SUCCESSORS

The succession plan is just the beginning.

The next step is creating and implementing individualised development plans for your future leaders to keep them growing and highly committed to your organisation.

Then continually add new people to that high-potential pool. Some people will be promoted and some will leave, despite the investments you make in their growth.

If your business is growing, you will need more leaders in 10 years than you need today.

To meet the future leadership needs of the organisation, you must continually identify potential and develop it.

The writer is Director of Asia Pacific, Talent Plus

CareerBusinessSingapore