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| 1 minute read

Why DE&I — and mobility — can be critical to successful succession planning

Within any organization, it’s critical to have effective leaders. If your company has them, that’s great news, but there’s another key piece of the equation that can be harder to nail down — making sure you’re equipped to transition to new leaders down the road.

No, your current leadership group can’t work forever, so having a well-defined succession plan can help you avoid hiccups when the transition inevitably happens. It can also help your organization’s bottom line. According to the article below from Deloitte Insights, “poorly managed CEO and C-suite transitions may result in nearly US$1 trillion in lost value in the S&P Composite 1500.”

The article goes on to note how important diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is within the succession process. Making sure you have a wide pool of candidates — from diverse backgrounds — can help ensure that the right people emerge. For instance, when looking for a new leader in technology, they suggest expanding your scope beyond only the people who have certain IT skills today. If others in your organization have promising leadership traits but don’t have specific boxes checked, could you spend time training those individuals so they can flourish as leaders?

I love this thought, and I can definitely see mobility playing a role here. If you have promising individuals within your organization, a great way to help them develop is through exposure to other parts of the company. A rotational assignment — where they spend set amounts of time in a few different locations — could be the perfect tool.

This approach of developing talent from within can in turn lead to a more diverse leadership group. It’s all about casting a wide net, like in the example above of the new technology leader. Go outside the traditional pipeline and see if anyone within your organization is being overlooked, particularly in traditionally underrepresented groups. Your mobility program — with a sharp focus on DE&I — can then help set these future leaders up for success.

“A lot of people approach succession planning by saying, ‘Who can slide into this chair, be the least disruptive, get promoted most graciously, and keep the drumbeat going?,’” says Travis Osborne, vice president of information technology for Apache Corporation. This assumption, he says, that new leaders can slide into an executive role without proper preparation is a disservice to organizations and new leaders alike. “Those can be expensive mistakes if you just ‘stay the course,’ and that’s counterproductive to succession.” A better approach, says Osborne, is to look at succession as an opportunity to find a new set of perspectives in leadership—not just a carbon copy of the person who held the position before.


dei, diversity, equity, inclusion, mobility, business strategy, business leaders, succession, leadership, leadership development