Who Is “On-Deck” In Your Organization?

Succession planning is usually very low on the list of agency priorities until a reminder like Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent bicycle accident occurs.  When an influential senior leader is sidelined for even a short time it reminds everyone, “Who is ready to step up and continue the mission?”

A succession planning process is an essential strategy that involves assessment, development, and communication.  An agency without a succession plan runs the risk of not being able to fulfill its mission.

So, what does an effective succession planning process look like?

Assessment: Succession planning starts with a determination of positions that should be included in the plan. Plans should also identify talent within—but also outside of internal leadership circles. Specialized skill requirements might make it necessary to identify and recruit talent from outside the agency and/or government.

Development: Identify where skill gaps exist and the degree of knowledge acquisition required to perform a future role. Many agencies are now using phased retirement programs that emphasize and enable knowledge transfer. The phased process allows for incumbents to smoothly prepare for retirement rather than come to an unexpected and sudden exit.

Communication: A final important element of the succession process is to develop a plan for communicating the strategy throughout the agency. In the absence of this information, high-potential candidates could unexpectedly exit the agency to pursue desired career advancement opportunities elsewhere—not knowing that a career path strategy has been defined.

Succession planning plays an important role in ensuring business continuity and the uninterrupted execution of an agency’s mission. Plans are always better when people have the time to think them through. The same is true when it comes to identifying and developing a next generation of leadership. Get started today!


About The Ken Blanchard Companies

The Ken Blanchard Company specializes in helping agencies assess, understand, and address talent and developmental gaps.  To learn more visit The Ken Blanchard Companies government solutions homepage.


  1. Who Is “On-Deck” In Your Organization? « BG Allen

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