Where to Focus

How Top Companies Approach Leadership Succession

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CEOs Suffer Blind Spots Without Talent Data

It’s on the CEO’s Shoulders to Create a Strong Leadership Pipeline

The CEOs we surveyed were incredibly clear that talent concerns kept them up at night more than anything else. Of all business challenges ahead of them, they said that their top three concerns were:

  • Attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Developing the next generation of leaders.
  • Maintaining an engaged workforce.

Overcoming all three of these challenges requires CEOs to focus on how they identify, promote, and develop leaders at every level of their organization. They have to consider succession as a strategic imperative for total organizational health rather than a method of replacing departing executives.

It’s critical that CEOs strategize closely with their CHROs to create a systemic approach to leadership succession. Organizations in our survey that had strong succession systems followed several of the following best practices:


Leverage assessments to identify strengths and development areas for high-potential talent.

Starting with an assessment is key to finding an unbiased inventory of leadership capability at any level. Assessments also support greater pipeline diversity by helping managers spot hidden leadership potential and evaluating leaders more fairly.


Compare results to critical leadership competencies to identify areas that are most critical to develop.

It’s important to not just understand strengths and developmental areas at the individual level, but also to compare these results to success profiles for crucial leadership roles.


Strengthen development areas with training grounded in leadership best practices.

This includes applying the newly developed concepts from training programs to real-world situations.


Use the succession pool when a vacancy arises, offering coaching and mentoring to guide transitions.

Leaders in these pools have been identified as potential candidates for vacancies already and have been provided with opportunities to be prepared for these roles.


Continue to monitor succession plan health through developmental conversations after leadership transitions.

By monitoring relevant succession data and identifying potential improvement areas, you can ensure your succession plan isn’t causing adverse outcomes.

A healthy succession planning process can improve the bench of leaders ready to tackle the next opportunity and provides a strong foundation for your organization to thrive in uncertain markets in the future.

CEOs Suffer Blind Spots Without Talent Data


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