Succession Planning Program Evaluation

Asking the right evaluation questions is key to finding out whether your program is a success and what needs improvement.


Program Evaluation Questions

Succession planning programs can take many forms. Some rigorously identify specific future career moves for their upwardly mobile leaders, while others may use a more general system of leadership "turns" to be accomplished. Some may clearly publicize their succession planning process and its results, while others perform activities in the background and communicate only to those who "need to know." The most important thing is for your organization to develop a process that works within your culture and gets the results you need. That said, here are some key questions for when you are evaluating your succession program with an eye to improvements, as well as for when you are just starting to design your own approach.


  • Does your succession planning program consistently produce a slate of qualified candidates for any given leadership position that needs to be filled?
  • Is your organization able to select internal succession candidates when desirable, rather than have to bring in outsiders with "more experience"?
  • Do newly placed (promoted) leaders feel ready and confident about stepping into the new role?
  • Do leaders placed (promoted) as a result of your succession planning process typically succeed in their new roles?
  • Do your leadership candidates typically stay with the organization longer?
  • Is your organization viewed as "the place to go" for MBAs and other aspiring, young professionals?
  • Are your future leaders aggressively recruited by other organizations?


  • Does top leadership move future leaders around to ensure they experience many parts of the organization?
  • Does top leadership aggressively "move out" incumbent leaders who are underperforming in a key role so that ready successors may be "moved up"?
  • Do your future leaders "know where they stand"?
  • Do your future leaders get the "real world" development they need to prepare them for new leadership roles?
  • Does your succession planning process operate "year round" (versus an event that occurs annually)?
  • Do current managers willingly "let go" when their staff is selected for new roles or for developmental assignments?
  • Is your succession planning process reviewed at least annually and any deficiencies corrected or improvements implemented?

Any evaluation questions that do not receive a resounding "Yes" might provide some fodder for rethinking and enhancing your current approach. However, remember that succession planning can take many forms, and your approach needs only to work for you.

Expert View Author: MS ABS

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