Succession Planning – Ten Lists of Ten
Succession planning seems ad hoc at best. There are many stories about the institutional knowledge that is lost when a worker leaves and a wave of retirements is expected in the next few years.
I realize that it was never a likelihood that a successor could be brought in and trained by the person leaving (if such was desirable), but it seems to me that there should be a more systematic means of maintaining some institutional knowledge.
My suggestion is that workers be asked (perhaps given a certain amount of time each year) to generate “ten lists of ten” in the interests of facilitating matters upon their departure. The ten lists:
1. The ten workplace activities I spend the most time on are:
2. The ten co-workers (within my agency) who could take over various job responsibilities that I now perform are (listed with those functions):
3. The ten most valuable tasks my supervisor(s)/co-worker(s)/subordinate(s) perform that support my work (name and task) are:
4. The ten tasks that I perform that my agency should consider making a higher priority are:
5. The ten tasks that I perform that do not appear to have as much value as the other work I do (and perhaps should not be performed after I am gone) are:
6. The ten people (with contact information) within the agency but outside of my physical office I work with most are (with the nature of the work):
7. The ten people (with contact information) outside of the agency I work with the most are (with the nature of the work):
8. The ten websites I most frequently visit are (with the nature of the work performed):
9. The ten activities I work on that are most susceptible to tele-work/telecommuting are: 10. The ten suggestions I would like to make (or have previously made) for my replacement, supervisor(s)/co-worker(s)/subordinate(s), or others whom I deal with as a federal employee are:
Some additional thoughts:
1. This could be couched in terms of an exit checklist (the “ten lists of ten” could be among the accountable items an employee provides before leaving agency (or federal) service.
2. If there were to be an exit interview, this could give the parties topics to talk about and lead to a better discussion.
3. Devoting some time, even once a year, to thinking about the above topics could assist the employee in the employee’s daily routine and perhaps encourage him/her to be more proactive in thinking about how to improve how the work is accomplished. The benefit to be obtained from giving employees some time and structure to think about what they do, should be doing, and how they actually do it may have much more benefit than the actual lists that are created. Maybe this is more of a succession planning/job reflection recommendation.