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Optimum Talks Blog

The COVID refresh on Succession Management

by Trina Boivin

Now that vaccines are rolling out across the country, optimism is rising in hopes that we are in the early stages of getting back to base business.

Organizations are turning their eyes not just to a return to the office but also towards what the new reality will be for growing key talent and addressing new operating models. At the same time, many industries have also realized how much can be accomplished while operating exclusively from home…

Now that the expectations of managers have changed, the way we assess potential also has to change. When it comes to the assessment of talent, leaders are facing a myriad of issues and it is apparent that it’s not only a question of how can we assess potential but, rather, how has the work changed and how does management and leadership change to reflect that? No one would likely disagree that top talent still needs career sponsors, organizations still need to find opportunities to build skills and challenge talent, and individuals still need visibility to demonstrate how they can perform in a variety of contexts and audiences. Leaders will need to make the “new normal” attractive, while not yet being able to completely qualify how the pressures and demands may have changed from just last year.

This has all led to a reemergence and focus on succession management and the quality of the conversation in talent reviews.  If you never stopped having these discussions, congratulations; that’s ideal! However, it will need a refresh.  If you did stop due to COVID limitations, it’s not the season for judgment but it is time to reinvest while the impacts are top of mind. Boards are also recognizing this reality.

The nature of what constitutes “good talent” has certainly changed over the past year, making it important to recognize that this shift occurred right under the feet of your top talent. This means that your previous front runners have had to alter their thinking and that there is now a more level playing field for other individuals to be recognized.  We are facing a unique opportunity to give a voice to those previously unsung heroes whose compassion was the glue that held teams together through this difficult time. It’s also an opportunity to take a discerning look at the leadership behaviours previously celebrated that are now less valuable or desirable.

The time is now to review, reset, recalibrate, and rejuvenate the talent review and succession management. It’s not about getting it perfect — there is still so much unknown — but it is about revisiting the criteria and methodology while it’s still fresh and we can remember the importance.  Amid all the chaos, we should seize the moment to move forward where the biggest opportunity lies — our people.


If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization with succession management, let’s connect! tboivin@optimumtalent.com.

 

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