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Maintaining Organizational Success Through Succession Planning

In an era where organizations are forced to operate in environments characterized by extreme instability, the value of succession planning equals survival and continued success. Rothwell (2005) agreed with this view when he stated that failure to sequence succession creates disadvantages and possibly organizational failure. No organization, no matter how big it is, is safe. Lack of succession planning indicates wrong management without strategic planning and little knowledge of scenario planning. In today’s environment, such neglect is an invitation to organizational failure.

This article analyzes the value of succession planning in organizations. It examines ways in which managers can prepare employees in their organizations for critical leadership positions. Overall, this article appeals to leaders to integrate succession planning as an essential part of their organizational development to ensure survival.

Characterization of succession planning and management

For over 200 years, the United States has developed a unique army. How? Focus on succession planning plays a key role in their ability to remain competitive. Their interest in succession planning stems from the idea that all positions have the potential to be vacant, which is why military members ensure there are substitutes to replace all key positions. Robbert (1997) argues that succession planning in the military ensures that organizational personnel is identified and developed for the purpose of taking critical positions. This planning of opportunities is not limited to a single type of organization. In the 2008 National Football League season, the New England Patriot lost its powerful quarterback in the first game, another player stepped in immediately, leading the team to a successful season. This is key to succession planning to ensure that the organization remains sustainable in an environment where change is constant.

Determine the need for succession planning

As globalization and technology continue to create an extremely competitive environment for business and in order to maintain a competitive advantage, succession planning becomes necessary. Failure to fulfill critical leadership positions within an organization casts doubt and creates credibility issues. To this extent, Lawson (2008) calls for continuity of leadership through a smooth transition in hiring the right people to avoid disruption. Failure to comply with Lawson’s call can result in lower employee morale, lower productivity and the possibility of business loss. What can organizations do to avoid such a dilemma? Has a talent pool of potential leaders. How?

Strategies such as a buddy system, acting capacity positions, workshops and the creation of online learning communities can be used to prepare current employees for essential leadership roles. In the first scenario, employees are matched with senior managers. Such a decision reflects a job-shadowing or mentoring experience where knowledge is passed on. In the second scenario, employees have the opportunity to act in a senior position. This provides employees with a hands-on approach to meeting organizational challenges. Workshops are a traditional way of transferring information within an organization. The advent of technology has provided a niche for creating online learning communities, once again sharing knowledge and maximizing the pool of organizational talent.

These techniques not only prepare employees for key roles, but also increase employee capacity and performance, improve employee support throughout their tenure, and are likely to increase employee retention. It is an immaculate way to increase the pool of organizational talent while ensuring continuity of leadership. Rothwell (2005) agrees with this latter argument by urging leaders to understand the need for succession planning when he said it was a deliberate, systematic effort to maintain leadership.

Such deep commentary is an indication of the depth of succession planning and the extent to which leaders should go to ensure continuity of leadership. Therefore, it is natural to claim that preparation through succession planning is a divine principle. It embodies the principles of strategic foresight and includes the planning of opportunities. This shows that leadership is aware of the volatility of current organizational scenarios and has plans to occupy critical, potentially vacant positions that are essential to the success of an organization.


It is the responsibility of the managers to identify critical positions in their organizations and the best way to ensure the continuous fulfillment of these positions. Leaders must be prepared to embrace the ideology that effective succession planning is an ongoing process. They must also continually examine the long-term growth of the organization, the best way to advance the organization’s skills, prepare workers to assume critical roles, and at the same time focus on management’s duration.

The basic basis for ensuring a viable succession plan is staff training and understanding of what is expected in the event of a vacancy. Follow-up planning is not a new phenomenon.

It is a plan that is needed in modern times. Alberta college of pharmacists leaders need to have an order and understand the importance of such a plan when developing long-term goals for their organizations.

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