What if you Lost your Left Hand?

Make no mistake, this blog post is not about occupational health and safety, but about organizational succession management.

Your business relies on key people who often hold unique positions. You count on these people with knowledge capital and unique skills. Are you a business owner or manager that proudly introduces such people as your “right hand” man or woman?

Some go as far as saying that they act as their “left hand” because they’ve become indispensable for having acquired a unique knowledge base over time. They possess expertise and have seen as many failures as successes of the business.

What if one of these people, right hand or left hand, announced today that they’ll start retirement soon or that they’ve received a serious medical diagnosis? Who would replace them? How can we transfer knowledge and how long will it take?

Establishing a succession management plan helps prevent the hazards of such situations and respond to these issues. Investing in succession planning and management is a guarantee of the company’s medium- and long-term sustainability. Here are a few ways to achieve this:


What are the key positions needed to achieve organizational objectives? If the positions you have in mind suddenly become vacant, you will need to consider the risks to your financial resources, operational management, human capital and so on.


In your eyes, which employees shine and have a promising future in your organization? These employees must not only perform; they must also show commitment, relentless curiosity and a strong desire to contribute and evolve.


How do we execute a succession plan? Once the first two steps have been completed, you must identify the skills and knowledge that need to be transferred and create an action plan with a realistic timeline according to the method of transfer (training, mentoring, coaching, etc.) in order to prepare the succession in time.

It’s never too late to start building a succession plan. Right hand or left hand, prevention is essential, just like in occupational health and safety!

In special collaboration with Ariane Legault-Grégoire, M.Sc., CRHA