In the organizations, the succession plans are not always planned and there are so many funny situations when a person needs to replace someone. The option basically can be that you assign a top performer person who will lead and execute the work in an extraordinary way; or your option is to assign someone who is around, because you need a quick replacement, you don’t care, or any other reason.
When someone replaces to another person, the first question it comes to my mind is: is guy a top performer ? or is he a plan B? The second question is: where this guy come from?
On all of this is also relevant to understand who is the person taking the decision, let’s call it the boss.
It’s important to understand this, because it will enable you to understand some part of his/her behaviors and the network where he moves. You also need to understand that the other person will do a similar exercise.
In organizations where there is stability and there is a clear leader (the boss), he sometimes will cover some vacancies with “plan B” profiles, they do not need a top performer in every single position, they are not willing to pay for a “top performer” and they will want to control the decisions on that area (a plan B will require guidance and the leader loves this type of relationship).
In organizations where there are so many moves, the situation can be the opposite, the boss requires top performers to change the direction of the things and push the organization to the goals.
There are people who are always top performers, and they push their careers with a clear vision about where they want to go and they do it. To be a top performer is not only to achieve the results, it’s they are able to sell themselves very well and explain their abilities.
In general a plan B is not recognized to be a good thing, and it’s true, but you have to take care. For me, to be a plan B it is not intrinsically a negative thing. I have seen people who is able to have a success career moving in the organizations as a permanent “plan B”, making themselves irreplaceable, and making their personal value to be quoted always high; as consequence of all of this, they are successful. In this situations they play with an additional advantage: the other people look them as a “plan B”, and they underestimate they capacity to perform the role.
During your professional career it could be the case that sometimes you are a top performer, and some others you are a plan B. In my case I have been both things.
What about you? are you a “top performer” or a “plan B”?