Learning Succession from the movie “Shazam”

“SHAZAM!”has been in movie theaters for a few days now and it is a hoot! Although I’d like to write a glowing review of the movie, there is an area there that as I observed can be useful in our work. As a business owner, you will realize that your biggest asset are your people. When you realize that you will begin thinking “who can do what I do in the way I do it?” Being entrepreneurs we will reach a point where you would want your business to maintain its culture, productivity and drive. The best way to do that is through identifying your successor.

The movie “Shazam” is all about finding the right successor. Someone worthy who has the right set of competencies who will continue the work you’ve began. But how do we find and develop a successor? Here are 4 tips that will help you do so.

1. Know the Exact Competencies needed for the Role.

Competencies is a collection of knowledge (theoretical), skills (practical), attitude (cultural) and abilities (physical) attributes needed by a person to effectively take on a role. Knowing these competencies need an analysis of the roles and their requirements.

2. Finding a successor is highly dependent on the role, not the personality.

When thinking of a successor, consider the role the successor will take. (Spoiler alert) When the wizard was looking for someone who will take his place, he is looking for someone with a pure heart. That is the primary attribute needed for the position of Shazam’s successor. The wizard didn’t look for a person to force fit into a role… but he looked at the role and found a person who fits it. Although he was able to find many with this attribute he wasn’t able to find one that fits because of the next item that is.

3. Test for Competence.

The wizard tested the candidates. (Spoiler Alert) Those who were tempted by the Seven Deadly Sins didn’t get the powers of Shazam. In looking for successors, we should also test for the competence of the candidates. Expertise in their current job doesn’t mean they will do great on a promoted role.

4. Mentor… and mentor some more.

(Spoiler Alert) When the wizard transferred his powers to Shazam, he turns into dust (much like how half the population disappeared in Avengers: Infinity Wars). Which left the new Shazam trying to figure out his powers on his own. This will be disastrous for your business and your candidate. You have to realize that expertise comes from experience and in that process you would want to reduce the effect of negative experiences as much as possible.