Generations & Succession Planning (Or What does innovation have to do with it?)

Go Jamie, Go Jamie … I thought I add my “rant” to Jamie Notter’s rant about succession planning and what it isn’t.

I personally embrace his definition:

Succession planning is really just ongoing leadership adaptation. How do we need to change the capacity within our systems to shape the future, given the demographic make up of our system?

Jamie was reacting to Bob Filipczak’s post on GenXers from his Managing the Generations Blog. I didn’t find it as horrendous as Jamie (but then I’m a boomer not an Xer), but I did find it frustrating because it preached following the status quo. Essentially Bob advises his generation to put job tenure and learning the office politics game as priorities to ascend to management. The problem with that advice is that it’s based on an old business model. And for at least this boomer, I don’t want staff (or volunteers) blindly playing the game.

The one comment on which I agree with Bob is there is very real opportunity for GenXers (and all enlightened individuals) to shape how companies do business in a way we haven’t seen recently. Which leads me to the point: no matter how you define the generations or choose to manage them in your association, the real message is in understanding that succession planning – for staff or volunteers – isn’t having warm bodies sitting in the wings until a seat opens, it’s a dynamic process that embraces innovation and assumes change is happening around us.