Next Up… You?

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Pam’s Blog:  Insights
Pam’s Blog: Insights


Let’s talk about succession planning. Ask yourself some honest, purposeful questions about where you are on your career path. Are you right where you want to be? Are you getting the assignments that are developing your skills and competencies? Are you prepared for the next opportunity right now? If so, who knows?




Often, people misinterpret succession planning with performance management systems. In fact, sometimes large organization use the terms interchangeably. Well, if you ask human resource experts, they will tell you succession planning and performance management are two very different initiatives. Succession Planning is a process for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company; it increases the availability of experienced and capable employees who are prepared to assume open roles as they become available. Performance Management is an ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee that occurs throughout the year, in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of the organization.

Now that we are clear on the difference, it is a career imperative that, regardless of size of the organization – whether it is a public or private, small or large — you must manage your career.

DMBA’s Benchmarking-Inclusive Leadership survey asks some very specific questions about what companies are doing to identify and develop talent through their succession planning process:

  •  100 percent of companies have a performance management process;
  • 85 percent of companies have a succession planning process;
  • Companies show a 20 percent increase in usage of high-potential, diverse talent pools;
  • Companies show a 19 percent increase of diverse executives moving into open positions;
  • Best-in-class companies use high-potential talent pools to advance diverse talent by promoting 40 percent of talent that is ready;
  • 39 percent of companies have formal sponsorship programs as part of their intentional strategy to advance diverse talent and women;
  • 15 percent of diverse executives have sponsors;
  • 25 percent of white females have sponsors;
  • 60 percent white males have sponsors;

So what can you infer from the above data? Companies get it that performance-based metrics are integrated, but intentional advancement strategies for women and people of color are still lagging. Let me give you a clue – access requires sponsorship. There should be no wondering about who is “next up. “

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Pamela McElvane
Pamela McElvane
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