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What if there was an easy way of benchmarking where staff were on a growth curve?
What if all staff could be plotted on the same graph and that graph was observable over years of service?
Succession planning is the ongoing analysis of staff growth within an organization and it takes shape in many forms. It allows leaders to assess staff and create long-term skill development plans to ensure there is a continuum of support in all positions. Since it takes years to develop expertise in some roles, having a model that takes staff from one area to another is imperative.
When building succession plans for the pharmacy teams I am part of, we identify team members as either low or high on two dynamics: motivation/interest and knowledge/skill. The metrics are called dynamics since their scores change year over year and looking at our chart once or twice per year keeps us focused.
Plotting these dynamics against each other allows us to develop a consistent framework for where people currently reside in their role and helps us provide the training they need to get them to their future potential more successfully. The chart comparing the two dynamics can be broken into four quadrants, A, B, C and D. By placing staff names in the appropriate quadrant, we can deduce where individuals are. The chart also gives leaders a picture of where the team is overall. It helps identify what we need internally before searching elsewhere.
GOAL: develop as many As as possible!
‘A’ people --- The more As on the team, the better.
These people are at their peak or will be continually pushing beyond their peak. They may be used as trainers for other staff. They are go-to people that take on responsibility and independence. They enable progress.
‘B’ people --- Need your attention.
They may be bored, ready for a new assignment, distracted by something going on personally or perhaps feel overwhelmed. Either way, they need their leader to ask open-ended questions. Due to their high potential, they sometimes re-motivate themselves once someone acknowledges that they are dealing with something. Other times, they simply need to work on something different or be given autonomy to try it another way. For some reason of another, they are currently under-utilized. Figure out why and they may slide into A.
‘C’ people --- I’m new here.
The Cs are newer to their roles or have recently taken on a task that is challenging them in a manner they have not been before. They feel out of sorts and are discovering what it takes to do something well fist hand. They need support, empathy and an opportunity to build goals and expectation with tangible timelines. This may give them comfort in knowing there is a plan and the discomfort is temporary. To move them into A, leaders can reassure them that they are here for a reason and are capable. Monitor and support in a way that is tailored to them.
‘D’ people --- Assess fit.
The Ds are either not suited for the job or need to be reassigned to different responsibility within the organization. They have become part of a Broadway play, but miscast in the script. They have talent that they are choosing not to use and leaders need to uncover why. When leaders diagnose the reasons, they will know what needs to be done.
By now, you have already had visual thoughts of your teammates on the chart. If you chose to ignore these, their failures are your fault. Plot the ABCDs to promote more As and you will have developed a succession plan for them only their leader could have crafted.
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