Succession Planning

Identifying & Developing Top Talent for Critical Roles

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“We hired LSA Global to help our long-term client identify root causes and develop an action plan for improving their leadership bench strength in face of high attrition and a changing marketplace. LSA’s succession planning expertise was a 10-out-of-10.

Their recommendations in the areas of attracting and recruiting the right talent, hiring and promoting the best talent, employee development, performance management, knowledge management and succession planning were right on target. I would recommend LSA to anyone looking to take their talent management practices to the next level.”
Director | Risk Advisory Services | Global Audit, Tax and Consulting Firm

Successful organizations make sure that they have the right people in the right positions to propel the business forward.  That includes building internal bench strength, filling the talent pipeline, and being prepared for planned and unplanned personnel changes. Done right, succession planning should be the fastest, cheapest and most reliable way to get well-qualified talent into open positions.

Unfortunately, very few companies have an effective or strategic succession planning process.

Succession planning is a critical component of an overall talent management strategy which aims to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent to execute the business strategy in a way that aligns with the organizational culture.

Succession planning focuses on identifying and developing internal talent with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the organization. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees through effective development of the high-potential employees, so that they are prepared to assume leadership roles as they become available. Done right, succession planning helps build the bench strength to ensure the long-term health, growth and stability of an organization.

Effective succession planning typically includes five major steps:

1. Identify Key Metrics to Move: Succession planning projects should start with clearly defined, relevant, meaningful and agreed-to success metrics that align with the overall business and talent strategies.  That means fully engaging your stakeholders to get the proper level of buy-in and alignment compared to other business priorities. Typical stakeholders include the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, the Chief People Officer and the Head of Talent, Senior Executives, front-line managers, and employees.

2. Define Critical and Strategic Jobs – Now and in the Future: Once success metrics have been defined, it is time to identify your most critical and strategic roles to ensure success today and in the future based upon your strategic business plan and key assumptions about the future.  The goal is to get clear agreement and alignment about the critical few difference-making roles.

3.  Define Core Competencies – Now and in the Future: Once you have agreement on your most critical and strategic jobs, the next step is to clearly define the most important current and future competencies, skills, knowledge, behaviors, attitudes and experiences necessary to succeed in those roles.  Once again, less is more in this stage.  Look for the critical few that matter most for your unique situation, not an exhaustive list.

4. Conduct a Talent Review: Based upon the metrics to move and the desired current and future competencies, the next step is to review your current talent and jobs to understand the performance, potential, aspirations and issues with your current workforce and organizational structure.  The objective is to identify talent and structure strengths and weaknesses, spot and groom high potentials early, mitigate retention risks, and establish talent pools by levels based on the strategic strengths of the organization.

5. Create a Succession Plan:  After you have mapped your current and future talent gaps, it is time to create and execute a succession plan for consistently identifying and developing targeted internal talent with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the organization.  This includes ensuring that you create structured development plans and curated development experiences to truly prepare your talent for the future. Targeted development plays a critical role in succession planning and often gets overlooked or is not fully implemented.

The entire succession planning program should be reviewed and adjusted (typically annually) in concert with the overall business and talent strategic planning processes.

Ask us about Leadership Development Pay-for-Performance options and how to move the leadership metrics that you care most about.  Typical metrics that we move include:

  • Sales revenue, margin, win rate, portfolio mix, deal size, and sales cycle.
  • Customer acquisition, loyalty, growth, and satisfaction.
  • Leadership execution effectiveness of key corporate strategies.
  • Employee attraction, development, performance, engagement and retention.
  • Project cost, quality, and time.

Related Information

Redwood Trust looked to LSA Global as a consulting partner to help us explore innovative and scholarly approaches to promote employee engagement and sustain the unique culture we’ve built over the last decade.  LSA helped us perpetuate coaching as a discipline across the organization by integrating our core values, goal setting and performance management under an interactive coaching program.  We appreciate LSA’s commitment to cutting-edge practices to help keep us a step ahead during this time of rapid change.

Rosalyn Chan
Vice President, Human Resources

Redwood Trust

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

LSA’s executive coach based his approach on understanding our business circumstances and strategy, as well as our leadership aspirations. The customized coaching covered all aspects of leadership; it was not simply a touchy-feely endeavor. In fact, the focus on clear business outcomes and real life circumstances challenged me to develop my thinking and actions related to leading the business.”

Janet Pagano
Managing Director

Ovid

As a high growth digital marketing agency with cutting edge talent, we hired LSA Global to help clarify our strategy and work with our executive leadership team to help implement strategic changes in a way that made sense for our unique culture. The work was so successful that we also hired them to coach our key leaders. LSA has been instrumental in helping us transition to a new leadership team and triple revenue. In this age of useless consultants, I highly recommend their practical and business-oriented approach to strategy, culture and talent.

David Bentley
General Manager

AKQA

The action-learning leadership project has been very beneficial to me, our leadership team, and the entire organization. The balance of development and results has been excellent. We have made huge progress, and I was also able to identify 2-3 high potentials while having the extra benefit of people stepping up to carry key strategic projects forward. The Staff is very appreciative and has become very comfortable with both the program and the process. The experience was better than anticipated.  I could not be more pleased.

Heather Feltman
President & CEO

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Thank you for a great leadership development session today. The facilitator was brilliant, and we really enjoyed his style and personality. The sales team got a lot out of it (as did I). I believe it will help us create an even higher performance environment by ensuring we have a common understanding of our environmental structure and are all working towards the same goals.

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Managing Director

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LSA demonstrated the criticality for executives to look beyond current ethics topics and focus on applying fundamental values in everything they do to demonstrate true leadership. They successfully delivered in two hours what most leadership development presenters would spend an entire day trying to communicate.

Nick Voyvodich, SPHR
HR Manager

Fujitsu

It was a challenge to find a consultant with an approach to performance improvement that fit our unique culture and style. We were pleasantly surprised to discover LSA’s depth of expertise in the fields of motivation, developmental coaching and performance management and measurement.

LSA seamlessly integrated those components without our folks feeling like the intervention was forced. They understood what we were trying to accomplish, helped us clarify our objectives, and created a solid, refreshing approach that quickly got us moving and engage at all levels across the organization.Overall, I couldn’t be happier that we found a true strategy and implementation partner in LSA.

Doug Hansen
President and Director

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Great job in designing the Mergers and Acquisition strategy session for our global leadership team. The session was excellent. I gained additional insight on the importance of the role of HR regarding strategy, culture, and people in Mergers and Acquisitions.

Gloria Veon
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Fujitsu

The customized leadership program was very practical and achieved our goals. LSA adapted very well to our group and the situation and helped us build trust and awareness of successful leadership styles. We look forward to the next steps.

Erik Okholm
Director of Software Development

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people. LSA designed a modular and customized management curriculum that allows us to deliver top quality solutions to our managers and leaders. We consider LSA to be our learning and development partner and our LSA consultants to be an extension of our team.

Lisa Bruun
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Ellie Mae

We value our relationship with LSA Global. They focus on understanding our business situation and helping us succeed. LSA continues to deliver top quality consulting and leadership solutions that are highly customized for our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource to anyone looking to greatly improve the skills of their leadership, management, and project teams.

Bonnie S. Olson
Vice President of Human Resources

LSS

The customized leadership styles and coaching program was the best training that I have ever attended. The facilitators were phenomenal. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge coupled with compassionate and caring styles. I’d highly recommend this leadership training program to any manager, director, or executive looking for a life changing leadership program.

Shoaleh Ghaffari
Director, HR

Cutera

Having tripled in size and recently merged, LSA helped our executive team to increase our level of strategic alignment, to solidify our new direction, and to push our agency forward. As we look to rapidly scale, the clear, actionable, and critical few strategic moves combined with how we differentiate ourselves to our top accounts and target clients has really set us on a great path to success. This is exactly what we needed to get to the next level.

Matt Britton
CEO

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