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The Scope of Succession Planning

Succession planning is often talked about only for business transitions. What about succession planning for the entire organization? Are we paying enough attention to our entire leadership pipeline? Is our organization ready for the next decade? Not having a succession plan can lead to business failure, excessive turnover or other undesirable results. Succession planning is critical for an organization’s long-term success.


To get started, list each staff replacement and their replacement’s replacement. We can do this by applying the “red bus test:” If I was hit by a red bus tomorrow, who would replace me? And if my replacement was hit by a bus who would replace him?


Then, identify what positions we are missing by answering two questions:


1) If budget wasn’t a constraint, what position(s) should we be hiring for that we are not currently hiring for?


2) What position(s) should we be hiring for right now even if that requires replacing someone?


Next, for each person identified, make notes of how prepared they are for the job and how they can be further developed. The development of leaders was the subject of an article in Harvard Business Review’s June issue titled “What Leadership Development Should Look Like in the Hybrid Era.” The article broke development into three parts:


1) Sense-making or understanding how the business world and the organization works around you and how others relate to you.


2) Experimenting or testing ideas picked up in a classroom session, from colleagues or from personal experience.


3) Self-discovery or figuring out your own identity in the workplace.


Succession planning for an entire organization can lead to years of success and prosperity. Let’s all make sure our companies are prepared for the next decade.

On another topic, this month we are hosting AWCI’s Industry Leaders Conference in New York City. The conference helps develop your people, gets them connected with their peers and introduces them to ideas and concepts they cannot get anywhere else. If you are unable to attend then you will want to put this event on your calendar for the October 2023 edition of the conference. In the meantime, I wish each of you continued success.

In addition to being 2022–2023 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Travis Vap is CEO of South Valley Drywall, Inc. in Littleton, Colo.

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