“Succession Planning—is the process of identifying and preparing suitable employees to replace key players within an organization. From the risk management aspect, provisions are made in case no suitable internal candidates are available to replace the loss of any key person…a careful and considered plan of action ensures the least possible disruption to the person’s responsibilities and therefore the organization’s effectiveness. A succession plan clearly sets out the factors to be taken into account and the process to be followed in relation to retaining or replacing the person.” (Adapted from Wikipedia)
How difficult can succession planning be?
The Wall Street Journal, 8-9 September, 2007, describes how difficult succession planning can be and especially for an organization such as Cirque du Soleil (where 21 performers are former Olympians and the majority has backgrounds in acrobatics or traditional circus arts): “Working with such singular talent forces Cirque to walk a tightrope. The artistic side is always looking for new acts. The business side wants to make sure they aren’t irreplaceable.”
How far will some organizations go to manage their succession planning?
Scouts [from Cirque]…travel the world, scour the internet, and vet thousands of unsolicited applications to fill 500 new roles. In their quest, they have created a database of 20,000 potential performers. Among them: 24 giants (including a Ukrainian who is 8 foot 2), 23 whistlers, 466 contortionists, 14 pickpockets, 35 skateboarders, 1,278 clowns, 8 dislocation artists, and 73 people classified simply as small.”
In User-centric EA, succession planning, although not normally part of an EA program, should be considered for future addition. Particularly, with the addition of a human capital perspective to EA, the development and maintenance of succession plans would be an excellent fit!