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Blog : What Disney can teach everyone about Succession Planning

Blog

What Disney can teach everyone about Succession Planning


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By Sarah O'Connell, Business Advisor at Purple Cubed

If you’ve seen Disney's 1994 animated feature film, The Lion King, or attended the West End Musical, you’’ll know exactly how unpleasant Scar, the main antagonist, is. however I can’t help but admire two things about him:

(1)Be Prepared is a cracker of a tune

(2)There’s a great lesson here about the danger of failing to properly ‘succession plan’ (leading to the devastation in the Valley after Mufasa’s death)

While this may be a slightly extreme example – having a modern, robust and tech-first succession planning strategy is a must for any business in today’s VUCA world.

It’s also a core tenet of ensuring that employee engagement – our definition of which is ‘The right people, doing the right things, exceeding expectations, enthusiastically’ – is at the heart of what you do. Knowing what your people's aspirations are and managing these in the right way is a hugely important, and often disregarded, part of this.

Harnessing technology to underpin intelligent succession strategy is – I believe – now the only way to quickly and easily gain a ‘birds-eye’ view of the people in your business, understand (and then proactively manage) aspirations, and identify a more objective approach towards cultivating current and future talent.

It surprises me when speaking to otherwise forward-thinking HR Directors, that they rely on manager-feedback-heavy spreadsheets for this crucial step. In the absence of an objective framework and process, tailored to the needs of their business, this form of intelligence becomes a subjective ‘who’s who’ list of the favourites, or the most visible, audible or generally demanding managers-to-be.

At the very least, it’s a model that denies the employee the chance to fully express their aspirations, or for the business to gain a balanced perspective of engagement levels, performance and an employee’s potential.

Adding to this, the latest Deloitte trends report identifies the workplace of the future as being centred on agile, empowered ecosystems and networks, replacing structural hierarchies. This will have a huge impact on the operational needs of a business, with instant visibility of who has the best skillset and personality for the job rather than who may have traditionally taken on the task. It’s about playing to your strengths, not against them. Who is to say that succession planning tools can’t be adapted to fit this model, through tracking ongoing business needs versus capabilities?

If you’d like to learn more about how we’ve supported countless businesses with embedding effective tech-first succession planning strategies aligned with organisational need - leading to over 50% reduction in labour turnover levels, award-winning employer brands and 11% increase in leadership capability – then don’t get left behind; speak to one of our experts.

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