Succession Planning – A Collaborative Journey

Paul Bruce
17 Jul 2018

I was recently asked to speak at a workshop. My topic was People, the most important resource of all. My immediate thought was to highlight the age-old question of succession planning and sport. This has been a topic of discussion many times and often the response is that many sports are too small to offer a real succession pathway. So, what is the alternative?

We are all aware of the many challenges our industry faces when it comes to succession or ‘people’ planning. While we all may agree with the concept of succession planning, current staffing structures or tight purse strings might not support such a shift.

So why not flip this view and give the individuals who are on a career journey in sport the tools to manage their own succession planning? For those on this journey, this fundamentally means considering where you want to go. Start to map out a five-year plan based around your ideal role and then focus your energy on achieving this.

Organisations can assist with this journey by using a collaborative approach. When both employers and employees take responsibility for considering succession planning, this burden can be shared. The best time to do this is when looking at new roles. Map out the path the new role will take and meet with the employee to discuss how they think they could move the position forward or what steps they need to take to fulfil their dream role. This would be a win-win situation. The cost of losing someone you have already invested in through training, time and knowledge transfer will undoubtedly set your organisation back, and the growth the team member experiences will be greater if they can continue on a clear path within the same organisation. However, at some point we all need that next challenge and encouragement to take the next step on the career journey.

Sometimes the answer can be as easy as providing a mentor to further develop a person’s skills, or experiences that allow them to grow outside of the role they are currently carrying out. These steps do not have to be expensive or a drain on your current resources. Customising your approach, as well as the path members of your team can explore will result in gains for both your organisation and your people.

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