Richard Ghilarducci Lists Some of The Ways Mentoring Can Support Succession Planning

Succession planning and mentoring are important strategies to ensure the continued strength and growth of a company.

As per Richard Ghilarducci, it involves the process of identifying and developing new leaders that can replace old leaders as they leave the company, retire or die. Succession planning and mentoring help prepare competent and skilled employees who can effectively assume leadership roles as soon as become available.

Richard Ghilarducci marks a few ways mentoring supports succession planning and management

Mentoring is an important component of succession planning. It plays a vital role in developing career paths and transferring knowledge from within, from one employee to the other. It allows companies to avoid onboarding new employees for leadership roles who may require extra time to familiarize themselves with the company and its vital selling points.

There are many ways mentoring supports succession planning and management, such as:

  • Mentoring can bridge the gap across generations: At this point, a workplace is likely to feature employees from multiple generations, the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Each of them brings their own expectations, ideas and experiences to the workforce. At times, such differences may make employees feel that they do not have much in common with other workers outside of their age group, and as a result they may not be keen to develop relationships across generations. Having mentoring programs in place, however, can help employee see past their generational differences, and develop closer working relationships. Baby Boomers especially are perfectly positioned to mentor younger employees and help them to develop valuable leadership skills.
  • Mentoring contributes to the institutional knowledge of the company: Institutional knowledge implies to the memory of a company. It may include vital cultural memories like how the company was established, or even more tactical knowledge like how to manage critical projects. A good amount of institutional knowledge is captured in personal experiences and stories, which cannot be easily documented. Several companies today are rightly concerned about their older employees, specifically the Baby Boomers, retiring in the near future and the subsequent loss of implicit institutional knowledge. Mentoring can help such older employees to share and transfer important institutional knowledge to the leaders of tomorrow.
  • Mentoring creates a conduit between different business units: No matter whether it is by functional area, product line or region, companies often become siloed. This presents a challenge for succession planning and management, as it gets difficult for the employees to transfer from one part of the business to another. Having a formal mentoring program that spans business units, however, can be highly useful in developing boundary spanning relationships that helps in breaking down silos within the structure of a company.

As Richard Ghilarducci says, formal training programs usually put greater emphasis on models or theory to explain concepts to trainees. However, many of these theories do not always translate effectively to real-life situations, and hence employees face complexities in applying these concepts at work. On the other hand, mentors can provide mentees with valuable advice and insights that are based on their own experience. This real-world knowledge can often be much more applicable to the menteeā€™s work and responsibilities.


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