An elite sports team or performing arts company succeeds or fails by the quality of its talent. As a consequence, succession planning in these organisations is a constant, pro-active, and methodical discipline designed to provide a competitive advantage.

Of course, the talent pipeline is just as important in business, and corporate leaders will espouse the importance of succession planning for their organisation. In practice, however, the corporate approach is often reactive, infrequent, and ad-hoc. As a consequence, top talent can be neglected, high performers can become a flight risk, while mediocrity can pervade the culture.

Done well, a disciplined approach to succession planning creates a natural and healthy pressure on team members to stay hungry, humble, contribute and grow themselves. Complacency, arrogance, and defensiveness are discouraged.

Rather than slow down when someone leaves, the organisation can actually increase speed and performance, because the successor is available, and has the relevant skills, cultural alignment, and motivation to make an immediate impact.

Investing in talented individuals, and articulating their future pathways, encourages high levels of commitment from them and reduces their flight risk. Higher levels of internal succession also occur because there are active internal options, at advanced stages of readiness. Eventually, the organisation will gain a reputation for building excellent careers and become a magnet for top talent.

Inspiration from others

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins

Questions to reflect on

  • How would you rate the succession planning in your organisation?
  • What would your top talent say about your succession planning?
  • Where are the opportunities for you to improve succession planning?

If you would like to increase the effectiveness of your succession planning, you can take a complimentary 30-day trial of my leadership app, Enixa, at If you would like to use Enixa to create more leaders in your team or organisation, contact [email protected].

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about PETER

For two decades, Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe. He’s coached more than 250 CEOs to measurably higher levels of performance. His consulting company has delivered dozens of cases of business transformation and thousands of individual cases of leadership transformation, at a success rate of greater than 90%.

Find out more about Peter

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I introduced Enixa to my top 100 leaders to create more capability and alignment across the team. Within a few short months, its powerful impact was evident, individually and collectively.

Andy PennCEO, Allied Pinnacle