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also very attractive to your competitors. While seemingly obvious, but unfortunately frequently overlooked, management must practice quality employee performance reviews in order to learn, gather and track information on the potential successor candidates (a.k.a., maintaining the talent pool or pipeline). 2. The organization will need to either develop or adopt existing methods, tools and techniques to identify employee competencies and aspirations, such as using talent management systems, talent assessments or business personality and performance indicators, as a means to further assess and develop candidates. This can be done quite efficiently and accurately through candidate feedback and electronic assessments. 3. After assessing and capturing employee capabilities, competencies and aspirations, you need to implement a structure and process for developing potential successors. Progressive organizations have formal Emerging Leaders programs. 4. At the point your internal candidates are promoted, we recommend a three to six month (minimum) active mentoring and/or coaching process to best transition successors into their new role. 5. Lastly, it is important to review and evaluate your succession program’s effectiveness annually and update it as required. Consider measurements like number of promotions, employee retention and reduced recruiting costs in reviewing the effectiveness of your succession program.

ment Delegation above Micro-Management. Make sure to give assignments that require demonstration of skills (enable the candidate to learn new skills) to develop and apply skills that will be required by managers in your company. (It is important for the candidate to have an opportunity to make and “live” with their recommendations.) 4. Make sure your performance review and appraisal system is more than a once-a-year monologue. Conduct at least semi-annual reviews to stay in touch with the candidate’s performance. This can also include selective 360-degree reviews to focus on skills learned, skills demonstrated, skills to be learned, what went well, what can be done better, professional and career goals, and how the colleagues see the candidates performance and behavior, derived from the 360-degree review.

Have a Plan

While often overlooked or misunderstood in small businesses, succession planning is an important component for business continuity, sustainability and growth. Whether your business has a formal plan or an informal plan is less important than that it has a plan, which is worked on throughout the year. Business growth needs a people strategy to support it. Understanding and helping your business refine whom you need now and in the future, and who will replace key positions, is an important and necessary growth strategy. q

Four Tips to Help You Identify and Develop Your Talent Pool and Potential Successors

1. Keep a pulse on the talent network in your industry. They may be enticed to join your organization based on the opportunity it provides to grow and advance. 2. Develop and maintain a learning organization by integrating regular formal and informal training and skill development to promote a growth mindset among employees (i.e., targeted courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, professional association sponsored programs, e-learning, in-house brown bag lunch knowledge meetings, peer group exchanges, etc.). 3. Entrench the practice of Manage-

Sara LaForest

Tony Kubica

About the Authors

Sara LaForest and Tony Kubica are founding partners of Kubica LaForest Consulting LLC. They are management consultants, executive coaches and business improvement specialists serving clients nationwide. Find them online at kubicalaforestconsulting.com.

www.akbizmag.com • Alaska Business Monthly • April 2012

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April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  
April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  

Alaska Business Monthly’s 2012 Corporate 100 annual special section begins on page 86. Top citizens of industry are highlighted in this annu...