Succession Planning. The final frontier… to boldly go where damn few have gone before, no matter how frequently they talk about it.

A recent article in the Houston Business Journal references a survey about succession plans at mid-cap and large companies. Well over 50% do not have enough successors identified to weather one or more key departures, and only 37% claim to even have sufficient future management available (never mind ready)within the organization.

Are you kidding me?? It is the height of irresponsibility to suggest that senior leadership is focused on the future — on longer term, strategic ideals — when it cannot weather a small storm caused by the departure of just one or two key leaders.

For those organizations without potential successors, 78% — let me repeat… 78 PERCENT — planned to hire from competitors or from outside the industry.

Now look, I’m no rocket scientist or mathematician, but if over 50% of all organizations don’t have promotable in-house talent, and almost 80% of those same companies are thinking they will simply hire from the outside for key vacancies, then someone is grossly overestimating the availability of key leadership talent in this country.

The numbers simply don’t work.

Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Oh yeah… and in this same article, the survey numbers show that 72% of the companies planned to develop high-potential employees within the company to assume C-level leadership roles. Yep, I’ve heard that before…

Quit the folly, folks. Spend the time and resources necessary to identify, plan, and develop future leadership. To do otherwise is simply an unsustainable plan, and an albatross around the neck of an otherwise sound organizational strategy.

But that’s just me…


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