The Guide to Crafting a Succession Planning Template

The Guide to Crafting a Succession Planning Template

Succession planning is a critical aspect of organisational management that ensures the continuity of leadership and the seamless transition of key roles within a company, every company has to consider what comes next as key leaders exit, retire or move on. An effective succession planning template is a roadmap for identifying and developing internal talent, reducing the risks associated with leadership gaps, and developing a culture of growth and stability.

This article will explore the significance of succession planning and provide a comprehensive guide to creating a robust succession planning template.

The Importance of Succession Planning

Succession planning is not merely a contingency plan for unexpected departures; it is a proactive strategy that contributes to the long-term success of an organisation. Here are some key reasons why succession planning is crucial:

  1. Minimising Disruptions: Succession planning helps businesses minimise disruptions caused by unexpected turnover or retirements.
  2. Developing Talent: It provides a structured approach to identifying and developing high-potential employees. This process encourages continuous learning and skill development, fostering a culture of growth and development.
  3. Retaining Institutional Knowledge: Succession planning helps retain institutional knowledge by transferring skills and expertise from experienced employees to their successors.
  4. Boosting Employee Morale: Employees are more likely to stay engaged and motivated when they see a clear path for career progression within the organisation.
  5. Adapting to Change: Succession planning allows organisations to adapt to changes in the business environment by having a pool of qualified individuals ready to step into leadership roles.

Creating a Succession Planning Template

Now, let’s delve into the essential components of a successful succession planning template. Before creating a succession plan, we would always recommend that you obtain professional advice:

  1. Identify Key Positions:
    • List critical roles within the organisation.
    • Categorise positions based on their strategic significance and impact on business operations.
  2. Define Competencies:
    • Specify the key competencies required for each position.
    • Identify technical, leadership, and interpersonal skills necessary for success.
  3. Identify Potential Successors:
    • Assess current employees for their potential to fill key roles.
    • Consider performance reviews, leadership skills, and career aspirations.
    • Look outside the organisation and map the potential talent available to compare against any internal benchmark (if that exists internally). Most executive search firms can help with this process.
  4. Create Development Plans:
    • Outline individualised development plans for potential successors (if they exist internally).
    • Provide training, mentorship, and opportunities for skill enhancement.
  5. Establish Timelines:
    • Set timelines for the development and readiness of potential successors, this could be aligned to retirement or other exit plans – or be purely hypothetical depending on the circumstances.
    • Align timelines with the expected vacancy or retirement date.
  6. Communication and Transparency:
    • Communicate the succession plan to relevant stakeholders.
    • Hold transparent and open communication about career development opportunities.
  7. Monitor and Adjust:
    • Regularly review and update the succession planning template as a ‘live’ document which adjusts according to circumstances or as you travel along the succession ‘runway’.
    • Adjust plans based on changes in business strategy or personnel.


A well-considered and well-crafted succession planning template is a cornerstone of organisational resilience and growth. By investing in the development of internal talent and anticipating leadership needs, companies can yield the benefits of succession planning.

CJPI Insights
CJPI Insights
CJPI Insights Editor

This post has been published by the CJPI Insights Editorial Team, compiling the best insights and research from our experts.

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