March 2024
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TD Magazine

5 Strategies to Improve Succession Planning

Friday, March 1, 2024

Leaders who do not plan for their direct reports' future are planning to fail for the organization's long-term success. Ensure your company's succession planning is building a bridge to a bright future.

1. Value expertise over experience.


Someone who can continually transform their knowledge and skills into real value can be significantly different than someone who has many years of experience and isn't improving. Don't confuse the two.

2. Create your succession ecosystem.

Design a one-page visual depiction of the roles, knowledge, skills, activities, and people within the business units. Use a hub-and-spoke graphic to illustrate gaps and points of connection.

3. Upgrade continuously.

Throughout the year—versus only during the annual performance review period—look for opportunities to upgrade talent in your organization's difference-maker roles.


4. Regularly score performance.

Identify two or three key behaviors for each role and score candidates monthly on their performance with evergreen feedback.

5. Project the future.

Determine what a role's capabilities will require three years from now and assess and develop candidates with an eye toward future success.

About the Author

Rich Horwath is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author on strategy. As CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, he leads executive teams through the strategy process and has helped more than 50,000 managers around the world develop their strategic thinking skills. A former chief strategy officer and professor of strategy, Rich brings both real-world experience and practical expertise to help companies build their strategic capabilities. He has appeared on ABC, NBC, and FOX TV, and is recognized in the textbook Strategy in the 21st Century as one of the key contributors in the history of strategic management for his thought leadership in the field of strategic thinking. Rich's innovative work in the field of strategic thinking has created dozens of proprietary offerings, including group workshops, strategy assessments, mobile apps, workbooks, strategic learning management systems, podcasts, videos, and one-to-one strategic coaching. His monthly e-publication, Strategic Thinker, is read by thousands of business leaders and academicians around the world.

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