Succession Planning Grid Using the 9-Box Grid

Local government leaders know that it’s important to have a succession plan and a way to identify each person’s development needs related to future roles.  A terrific tool for cities and counties to use to identify gaps in readiness the 9-Box Grid.

Since local government base salary can sometimes sway employees to leave (and make it hard to attract quality talent) city and county leaders need to do all you can to groom and develop the talent you have in-house.

A 9-Box is a fairly simple approach to assessing your employees’ current potential and performance.

As the title describes, there are nine boxes in this assessment grid. Each box represents a type of employee that’s on your team and each type needs something different to grow and prosper.

 The vertical part of the grid has to do with potential.  

  • Do your employees have the potential to grow and develop into a leader and into a future larger role, of say….Water Billing Manager?

 The horizontal axis is about performance.

  • Are they currently performing at a high-level, a low level or a medium level?

When you combine both the vertical and horizontal axis you get a very powerful tool that helps you see were performance and potential come together for each employee.  If you have a large department, you may want to complete a 9-Box for two or three roles that you need a plan succession plan.

The top right box is for those that are high performers and have high potential and are ready for those next big roles in your city or county.   The bottom left box is for low performers with low potential who may need to be in another department or may be better served outside your city or county.

Any box in between represents a way for you to see which person on your team needs what kind of support, mentoring, coaching or training.  The goal is to move people up to the top right….if they have the capacity or desire to grow.  

As a result of this exercise, you may want to start a job shadowing program for those in the middle, so they can learn the ropes of a new role, you may want to expand job responsibilities for others or ask a mentor in your city or county to spend time with them to guide them in certain areas. 

For more information on leadership development programs for your team, contact Bill Stark at [email protected] 



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