Who's that Girl?


The SNL Succession Readiness Model

Originally posted: July 9, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

I recently heard about “succession readiness” vs. “succession planning.”  It’s an interesting twist on words to change it to a more active way of approaching your change management strategy around talent.  Instead of just planning, you are focusing on actually throwing employees into situations that make them ready for the next level.

As an almost life-long Saturday Night Live fan, I’ve seen many comedians come and go.   I was watching SNL tonight (thank goodness for my DVR) and as the opening credits rolled, it struck me that they open by listing all the “regulars”, then they follow that with their “featured” performers.  These are the up and coming performers.  I love that they actively demonstrate their succession readiness by showing us who the next generation of SNL stars will be.

Now, some will not make it because they won’t resonate with the public or they have other behind-the-scenes issues, but for the most part, we can get a little glimpse each week of the new generation of comedians and see how they are developing.  Do you remember when Will Ferrell first took the screen?  Probably not.  How about Jan Hooks, Martin Short, Chris Katan, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey?  Nope.  What you do remember is that they ended up being really successful on the show and they made it funny. We also know that they joined on as young featured performers who eventually came to be key players in the success of the show.

Here are some key takeaways from the SNL Succession Readiness model:

  • Actively feature your up-and-coming talent
  • Give them opportunities to shine in front of your clients
  • Give them opportunities to fail and learn from it “live”

The best part about how SNL handles succession is the way that they prepare us, their customers, to accept the change. They manage us all along the way and when the time comes for a big name comedian to leave, they have already made us love the person that moves from “featured” player to “regular”.  Brilliant!

Leave a Comment

How we can help

Led by Trish Steed and Steve Boese, H3 HR Advisors harnesses over 40 years of experience to delivery HCM insights and guidance to global organizations.

Advisory services

By leveraging technology, analytics, and our deep industry knowledge we can help you to reposition your workforce and ensure that you have the right people with the right capabilities in the right roles to positively impact the growth of your business. 

HR Happy Hour Podcast Network

Created in 2009, The HR Happy Hour Show is hosted by Steve Boese and Trish Steed and is the longest continuously running internet radio show and podcast on Human Resources, HR Technology, Talent Practices, Workplace and Leadership topics. 

Speaking Services

We work closely with every client to customize your content - keynotes, webinars, research, infographics, and buyer’s guides - to inspire, educate and inform the audience enabling you to reset and realign your organization for a talent-led breakthrough.

Get in touch

Talk to us today and find out how we can help you and your organization leverage HCM technology to attract, onboard, retain and manage top talent.