By M. Dana Baldwin

Strategic Planning Expert

Note:  This post is part of a series of posts from Dana Baldwin’s article The Strategy of Succesion Planning originally posted in Compass Points in January 2000.  Part One introduced the topic and discussed the Succesion Planning Process.  Part Two discussed Strategy for Succession Planning.  Part Three covered Succession Planning Pitfalls and Succession Planning Benefits.  Part Four, and the final installment, covers Succession Planning in Simplified Strategic Planning.

Succession Planning in Simplified Strategic Planning

As in the deployment and utilization of any strategic resource, the development of your key people must be considered as you plan for the future of your company. It is certainly worth considerable time and effort to discuss the company’s needs and current capabilities thoroughly, as a Strategic Issue, and possibly as a part of Strategies – Internal Development. If you do not have a formal procedure for succession planning, you may want to create an Objective which mandates the development and installation of a Succession Planning process which fits the needs and preferences of your specific company. What do you need to do to get the best from your people, to position and educate them so they may best contribute to the company’s and their long term success, and to assure a flow of competent, well educated and experienced people for your future?

How long should succession planning take? Realistically, succession planning is never finished. On a regular basis, each company must look at its needs and resources to determine where it needs to have successors in place or in the process of learning the requisite disciplines. Each company needs to determine how long a candidate should be involved or exposed to the training needed. Each individual should have a concisely determined path toward the goal set for him or her. That path may be changed as needed and as events determine, so monitoring and updating should be a part of every succession plan.

Over what time period should you plan? To be realistic, succession must be planned years in advance of expected needs. To properly train a successor, the firm needs sufficient time to expose the people to the full spectrum of opportunities within the firm, as well as any desired or required outside education/experience expected. For example, if someone is expected to be a general manager, the number of departments, the types and ranges of technologies and processes, and the level of knowledge about the company procedures and policies, markets and customers, suppliers, employees, contractors, etc., will determine the time and depth of involvement. Additional factors, such as past experience and current knowledge that the individual brings to the process, will also affect the succession time frame.

Skillfully done, succession planning will bring the peace of mind that senior management should have, based on the understanding and expectations of its future leadership.

Is your company continually monitoring and updating your Succession Plan?  Attend the Simplified Strategic Planning Seminar for more instruction on succesion planning as well as all other aspects of Simplified Strategic Planning.

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at:

© Copyright 2017 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution


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