Tag Archives: succession

MoRs and Succession

Yesterday, I posted a casual conversation about something I have observed as a fatal flaw in most organizations, the flaw is failing to think forward about succession. The biggest constraint to most companies is the lack of managerial talent. We get so tied up in getting production out the door, we forget about sustaining that momentum beyond the month, the quarter, the year.

In the posted conversation, I did not specifically describe where this accountability lies, nor its mechanics. In short order, I received an email from a colleague, clarifying the situation.

“It is NOT the accountability of a manager ‘to find and build a person as your replacement’ – that is the accountability of a manager’s manager, the Manager-once-Removed (MoR). Immediate managers are to be held accountable to coach subordinate employees ‘in role.’ MoRs are to be held accountable to ‘mentor’ subordinates-once-removed (SoR) related to career planning and potential advancement. MoRs should be held accountable to

  • learn if SoRs seek advancement, and
  • judge their future potential capability to determine if one could, in fact, have the requisite capability to work at a higher level.

And the manager of MoRs should hold MoRs accountable to do this work.
Here is a diagram of those relationships.
MOR-Mentor
My thanks to Kevin Earnest for paying attention and clarifying.

The Real Constraint

“I admit it. I am struggling. I feel like I am trying to ride two horses at the same time. My boss wants me to take on more responsibility, but I still have all this other work to do. He says I need to let go, but I don’t know who to get to help me.” Rachel was moving up in the organization, but needed to identify someone on her staff as an emerging manager to fill in behind.

“Rachel, you say you want this new responsibility?” I waited. Though I knew her head would say yes. “Here is a big fat secret. You will never be able to move up in this organization until you have found someone to take over what you do.

“Everyone thinks you cannot move up until you have learned a new skill, but the real constraint is below. You cannot move up until you have identified a person to take over your current responsibilities. And once you find them, you have to train them and test them.

“One of your biggest responsibilities, as a manager, is to find and build a person as your replacement. And it doesn’t happen in a week. You have to be thinking two or three years to the future.”

Our online program, Hiring Talent 2013, kicks off January 25. Pre-registration is now open.