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.
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.
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.Read More
In the business world, you’ll find many passionate leaders who seem unlikely to ever leave the company. But our time here is limited, and life has a way of throwing curveballs at us whether we like them or not. It’s simply a fact that if you own a business, one day you and your fellow leaders will have to leave it, whether due to age, health concerns, or personal reasons. Of course, just because you’ll eventually exit the company doesn’t mean the enterprise should shut down too. If you want your business’ legacy to thrive, you’ll have to focus your efforts on succession planning.
What You Need to Know About Succession Planning
What is Succession Planning?
Right now, you may be asking yourself, “what is succession planning?” Simply put, succession planning is how a company secures its future by hiring, promoting, and/or training individuals to take on leadership roles as current leaders leave the enterprise. You might think of it as a ceremonial passing of the torch. As one team leaves, a new team steps in to carry on the business’ mission. Without proper succession planning, a business will struggle to continue its operation, as there will be no one available or remotely prepared to take on these vital leadership roles.
How Do Companies Develop Succession Plans?
The importance of succession planning should be abundantly clear. However, successfully crafting and implementing a succession planning strategy is a different story altogether. Every company differs in size, scope, location, and potential leadership candidates, meaning each organization must create a plan that suits its individual needs. Still, there are certain general guidelines every business should follow when forming a strategy for succession planning.
The sooner you consider your exit strategy, the better. You won’t be shipping off tomorrow, of course, but by being ahead of the curve you can outline a plan for how to go about finding optimal replacements. This head start also allows you to start focusing on the leadership development of your current staff members. It takes time to identify the right candidates, let alone train and evaluate them thoroughly enough for the new role. By starting early, you have more time to ensure the right people are on board.
Clearly Identify Roles, Duties, and Vision
One of the major challenges in succession planning is knowing and clearly communicating what roles and duties need to be fulfilled and how they will help steer the company into the future. If you started the business, you and your partners might know these things inherently. But when it’s time to bring new blood into the fold, you need to flex your leadership communication skills to get everyone on the same page. You might start including potential candidates in more closed-door meetings to help them gain insight into the company’s operations, for instance.
Consider the Plan When Hiring
If you already have a solid team, you’ll have an easier time finding the right people to take over in your absence. However, you’ll likely have to hire some new faces every now and then. With a solid succession planning model, you can hire new recruits with this template in mind. In other words, you’ll be able to hone in on specific traits and leadership qualities present in high-quality employees. Your succession plan should inform every hiring decision you make so you don’t waste any time finding and training the best people for the role.
When your business is growing, the last thing you might think about is leaving. However, failing to consider an exit strategy is a mistake that may cost the legacy of your organization. With proper succession planning, you can develop leaders within the enterprise and ensure the continued development of your business.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.Read More