Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How to Create a Living Strategic Succession Plan

By Leadership Resources 09/16/2019
Chess move as symbol of great strategic planning and choices

The business world rewards both careful planning and spontaneous action. At the same time, conventional wisdom warns against both of these extremes. All of this seems contradictory. How is it that caution and risk both work to our benefit and our detriment? And how can we know which path to take?

Perhaps the solution to this conundrum lies in the balance. Planning or acting on impulse isn’t inherently good or bad, but going too far in one direction can leave you vulnerable. When it comes to promoting employees or shifting leadership roles, you need a system that integrates strategic oversight while also embracing the dynamics of your company’s landscape.

Check Out How to Create a Living Strategic Succession Plan

Focus on the Big Picture

When developing a succession plan, it’s always good to start with the big picture in mind. What’s involved in this picture? Things like your vision, mission, various long-term goals, culture, and areas of your company you wish to maintain, do away with, or improve. With this broad view in mind, you can begin to formulate the types of roles, duties, and leadership qualities required to ensure your business’ continued success. This will help you begin to target those within your organization who might be a good fit for various roles.

Help Your People Grow

No matter how developed or limited your succession plan is, one thing remains constant: you will need good leaders to take over vital roles in your company. And good leaders don’t just fall from the sky; they must be developed and prepared to take on your company’s needs. Your living, breathing succession planning model should focus prominently on leadership training so your people are prepared to take on whatever sudden challenges might arise.

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Respond to the Data

Nothing is set in stone, and your succession plan shouldn’t be either. As you work on developing leaders within your organization, you might find that your regiment isn’t as effective or practical as you had hoped. Perhaps your training is too broad or too narrow. Maybe you’re not giving the right people the right amount of attention. Whatever the case may be, pay attention to how your programs are performing. If they’re not doing well, you must adjust your succession planning strategy accordingly. This might involve bringing in different coaches, hiring new recruits, or outsourcing some of your leadership training programs.

Anticipate Changes

The most important part of ensuring a flexible and effective succession plan is to always keep Murphy’s Law in mind: anything can happen, good or bad. Work with your succession planning team to envision “What If?” scenarios that capture possible changes in your industry, company, or leadership. You don’t want to become paranoid, of course, but the more aware you are of life’s uncertainties, the better prepared you’ll be to make necessary sudden changes with tact. In short, keep calm but look ahead.

Make Routine Updates

Finally, it’s not enough to merely anticipate potential changes. You must also react to the current moment, including any recent changes in your company culture, outlook, outcome, etc. To keep your succession plan alive and well, and to stay on top of these changes, revise it once a quarter or more. What has changed in those few months? What’s working? What’s not? And what will set up your organization for success in the short-term and the long-term?

Opportunity lies somewhere between chaos and order. Your succession plan should be thorough and strong, but also elastic enough to adapt to changes in your organization and the world at large. By finding this balance, you can maintain a steady flow of competent leaders who will bring your business into a bright future.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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Succession Planning: Promoting Team Unity Under New Leadership

By Leadership Resources 08/14/2019
Leadership success, hands with red hearth

Businesses that stand the test of time will eventually face the proverbial passing of the torch. Those who have lead the organization for a long time and wish to move on to retirement or other ventures must find the proper candidate to take over their role. This transfer of leadership roles is known as succession. And while succession implies a continuation of the company, it also implies change, which can frighten staff members, especially those directly under the wing of the leader who is leaving.

Current and upcoming leaders must find ways to unite their teams in order to calm these fears and prepare for these changes. Proper succession planning shouldn’t just fill vacant roles with the right people, then, but also put everyone within the organization on the same page. Here we’ll examine a few key ways to promote team unity under new leadership.

How to Promote Team Unity as a New Leader

Reinstate Vision

Every leader, even if they’re occupying the same role at different times, has their own unique leadership style and idiosyncrasies that inform their decision-making. However, above all else, leaders should serve the needs of their organization and their people. This means, regardless of their personal traits, leaders must always keep the company’s greater vision in mind. Under the supervision of their leaders, team members must also work toward this common purpose.

In other words, the company’s vision supersedes the leader and the team, operating as a unifying force in and of itself. No matter who is currently at the helm, the ship is headed in the direction of this vision. By reinforcing and adhering to the company’s vision, new leaders can promote and maintain team unity and the overall organizational culture.

Transition Gradually

Even the most open-minded people struggle with change, especially when it’s abrupt. Among the several benefits of succession planning, the buffer it creates between the old and the new is perhaps the most important. Team members should have the opportunity to get to know their newly appointed leader over a period of time in order to get comfortable with this shift.

Fortunately, it’s likely that most staff members will already know this person, as many succession plans promote someone already within the organization. That said, the change in roles can still throw people for a loop, so the more time everyone has to get used to the new situation, the better. It benefits both the new leader and the team to have several weeks (if possible) where the current leader and upcoming leader work side by side.

Create Team Buy-In

Whenever a new idea comes about, creating team buy-in is a major step in furthering its development. The same goes for a change in leadership. While in most cases the team itself won’t have a say in succession planning issues, they should at least be allowed to offer feedback and advice to their upcoming leader. By empowering the team in this way, individuals within the team will feel more connected to one another, establishing unity and trust.

Change is difficult, but it’s necessary for a business to go on, thrive, and adapt to a dynamic world. During a shift in leadership, however, the current team might begin to fracture and waver. This is why every succession planning model should include measures for promoting team unity during this transition. For deeper insights into succession planning and how to keep your company together during a leadership transfer, download our white paper: “Preparing New Leadership: A Successful  Approach to Succession Planning.”

Download A Whitepaper On Succession Planning

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

Schedule A Call To Learn More
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