Being succession ready should be the key focus of leadership to ensure organizational sustainability. Improving your talent management processes is a key part of making sure your organization is ready for future demands.

First and foremost, you need to make sure you have a talent acquisition system in place to hire top talent. Not just the talent that’s available when a position becomes open but a recruiting system that can regularly find people with the right skills and competencies to drive your business results.

Second is a strong performance planning and assessment process that looks at the performance and potential of each individual. It’s critical to understand who is ready to take the next step. Exceptional performers with high potential need to be identified and nurtured to further build their capacity to succeed at the next level when the opportunity arrives.

An accelerated development program built from needs identified in a performance assessment is essential to achieving long-term success. Individuals should be given the opportunity to seek development opportunities that build on their strengths and fill in any skill gaps that would be required for their next assignment be that a promotion or a lateral move to another department. Internal coaching and mentoring programs can be useful in developing the leadership competencies required for the future.

Regular discussions from top-level leaders are needed to build a strong succession plan for critical roles. Next in line candidates should be identified for each role and then appropriate career paths developed to ensure they are prepared when it’s their time to step into the key role.

Finally, you need a passionate CEO, Executive Director or General Manager who believes that talent management and development is paramount to the sustainability of the organization. One who spends time understanding where talent exists within the organization and ensures that their leadership team is doing the right things to develop the capability of every employee.

Like anything in life, Skills X Practice = Talent. Give your employees an environment that supports their development and you will become succession ready.

Michael Dick is part of our People and Culture practice at The Osborne Group. We are ready and able to help you build the right succession plan for your organization.