Succession Planning definition

Succession planning refers to procedures and processes designed to develop internal talent for the purpose of filling leadership and management positions once incumbents leave.

Succession planning is contrasted with replacement planning, the latter of which is a simpler process designed to identify potential candidates to replace managers. The former is a more complex area which, according to Charan, Drotter and Noel (2001), is concerned with building ‘feeder groups’ throughout the leadership pipeline.

Initiatives vary between being position-led (focusing on what people and skills are needed for the position) and person-led (identifying the skills and talents of an individual and seeing where these fit into the organisation).

Good succession planning often begins at the recruitment stage, where appropriate individuals can be marked for future leadership positions and their future development plans can be created with this in mind.