Having a strong successor is a basic tenet of good leadership
Greg Carvouni, CIO at the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, thinks very few organisations and their CIOs plan for succession, and if they do, it is usually a poor effort. He says he has always tried to do it himself, but admits his current efforts are somewhat crude.
"I try to recruit people who have potential and I'm happy to say that at this point in time there are a couple who definitely have the potential to step into this job if I were to go, which is better than when I started when that number was zero. It's not part of a structured hierarchy, but it enables you to offload some work by giving assignments to people," Carvouni says.
On principle, says Geoff Hunter, IT director at Accenture, he likes to promote from within his team wherever possible, but agrees that succession planning is something that CIOs tend to talk about but never actually do. That now has to change, though, as one of the objectives he has been set for 2003 is to have a clearly articulated succession plan.
However, rather than formal training, Hunter believes in controlled exposure to the next level. "I have a handful of direct reports and I'm looking at who is probably more managerial than technical. I'm looking to expose them to more of what I'm currently doing, see how they go and coach them from there," he says
Brian Kavanagh, CIO at WA's Water Corporation, considers succession planning not only important but good business insurance and tries to address it through his staff's performance process. "I ask people if their knowledge and skills are adequate for their current job, to what do they aspire, how well their knowledge and skills fit those aspirations and what additional development they need. The objective is not to target individuals as such but to know that there are people available should roles become available," Kavanagh says.
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