Succession Planning or Replacement Planning? What’s The Difference?

Good morning. I was reviewing some old posts on Workforce.com and saw an entry by you in which you stated there is a difference between succession planning and replacement planning. Can you quantify the difference for me?

The Team Doc Says…

I can sure clarify it for you.

Replacement planning is considered one form of succession planning.

With replacement planning, specific successors are decided in advance for a position and then groomed to help them acquire the necessary skills to replace the person / position being vacated.

We hear about this all the time in top senior positions within large companies.

So and so is slated to replace the CEO in a certain year.

Also, a pure form of replacement planning is inherent in the monarchy.

Prince Charles is in line to replace Queen Elizabeth.

Succession planning is much broader.

The key objective of succession planning is to ensure organizational sustainability.

You define the organization’s critical skill sets and develop methods such as mentoring, coaching, cross training, job sharing, job trading, etc. to develop those skill sets across the organization.

To accomplish this you may decide to set up a talent pool of individuals who are the shining stars of the organization.

With this group of people who have shown promise, you can create individual development plans to help them grow their strengths to move into different areas of the organization where there are succession gaps.

Two of the best books on the market to help organizations develop their own succession planning program are Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity And Building Talent From Within and Grow Your Own Leaders: How to Identify, Develop, and Retain Leadership Talent.