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Deepening Relationships with Leaders Through Investments in Succession

The book The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner discusses how “leadership is a relationship.” When you have a meaningful relationship with another person, you work more effectively together with a common goal and consistent purpose, and your efforts are channeled toward the same common outcome.

At Faith Technologies, by investing in succession, we are deepening our relationships with our leaders, providing them with opportunities to advance along defined career paths and transparently connecting employee capabilities and ambitions with organizational needs.

In defining our succession plan, we’ve focused on several key areas.

Assessment of Pipeline

Having completed the foundational work of clarifying leader requirements and establishing competencies for critical leadership roles, we identified successors for key roles. In doing so, we assessed candidates against three essential criteria:

  1. Readiness: Based on key development areas and milestones required to successfully transition roles.
  2. Fit: Based on unique and differentiating functions essential for each of our key leadership roles.
  3. Development Needs: Assessing individuals against the established development areas and addressing any competency gaps.

Successor Preparation

While a robust talent assessment process is key in succession planning, the development and preparation of identified successors is just as critical. At Faith, we focus on individualized development plans and also hold leadership development sessions to address common competency gaps across the senior leadership team.

Clarification of Additional Leadership Roles

Acknowledging that the most enduring organizations understand succession planning as something not reserved for a few positions but needed to ensure a strong bench strength of leaders at all levels of the organization, we also continue the foundational competency work for additional leadership roles. This process involves finalizing role-specific competencies, conducting leader and peer assessments, and holding individual development plan sessions for each of these roles.

Tracking and Monitoring of Progress

Recognizing the importance of establishing a sustainable practice for tracking and managing progress with our succession efforts, we’ve created a Succession Readiness Dashboard. At a glance, our leadership team can see important information about incumbents in critical roles, and which positions have both short-term and long-term successors. Making this information accessible not only shows us our bench strength, but also guides staffing and recruiting decisions, as well as the development of training programs, to ensure our organization always has people ready to serve in essential leadership roles.

By establishing a path for ongoing transition, we have developed a team of educated, inspired leaders dedicated to Faith Technologies’ principles and prepared to move us into the future. What steps is your organization taking to deepen relationships with leaders? I’d love to hear what you’re doing, so please leave a comment below.