12 key attributes to identify high potential succession candidates

In their book Best Practices for Succession Planning, Mark Sobol, Phil Harkins, and Terence Conley identified 12 key management and leadership behaviors that Lockheed Martin looks for in their high potential succession candidates.


These attributes are:


  1. Develops strategy – They have the ability to develop a long-range course of action.
  2. Demonstrates entrepreneurial thinking – They think about new markets, new products and services, and ways to exploit them.
  3. Thinks globally – They solicit and consider diverse perspectives on a problem or issue before making a final decision.
  4. Drives change – They make change happen.
  5. Advocates and develops talent – At Kreischer Miller, we call this team building.
  6. Motivates and inspires others – They build commitment to a common goal.
  7. Mobilize resources – They know how to coordinate the necessary resources within the organization to get things done efficiently.
  8. Navigates through complexity – They are problem solvers.
  9. Supports the enterprise – When the company establishes a new initiative, they embrace and support it.
  10. Has the ability to manage profit and loss – They are able to manage for profitability.
  11. Has a positive customer contact/interface – Company customers like and respect them.
  12. Has the ability to be engaged in a leadership capacity in the community – They take an active leadership role in the industry and the local business community.

While each company will have some unique specific requirements that they will look for in a high potential candidate, this list is a pretty good start. How many of these qualities do your potential succession candidates currently possess? If the answer is “a few” or “not enough,” it may be time to ramp up your training and development programs. As a next step, check out our previous blog post on 10 key steps to create a successful succession plan.

Contact us at 215.441.4600 or Email if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.

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