How to Succeed At Succession Planning

By Admin - April 03, 2016

In order to facilitate longevity, company executives must do what they can to ensure that the organization continually maintains the highest quality operations and employees.  One of the most important is that of succession planning.  We know that turnover is a constant so having a plan for when employees leave either expectedly or unexpectedly is essential to any company’s future success. Don’t push succession planning to the back burner, be proactive and keep mind of these tips while developing or refining your plan.  

Visions for the Future
To develop a plan you must first identify where you want to be in the future.  With many executives retiring or close to retirement it is more important than ever to focus on developing talent over the long term.  What type of leadership do you want in the future?  Am I hiring employees who can be developed into strong leaders?

Align with Core Values
Most companies have some sort of mission statement or visions statement in which they try to do business so before developing your succession plan, be sure to review your company’s core values.  What do you believe in?  What is your approach to business?  What is of the upmost importance to the success to your business?  By understanding who you are you can better identify who will be best in continuing your company’s vision.

Identify Potential
When faced with an open executive position many companies simply fill that position with the person “next in line” instead of with who is the most qualified.  Companies need to approach succession planning less like a plan and more like succession development.  You should be able to identify those who are ready to take on the new position and those who, with a bit of additional training and experience can take on that task.  Ask yourself when looking at a potential replacement if this employee is a leader, will they uphold your core values, do they bring other skills to the table that will benefit the company, and even simply, are they ready?

Mentoring Program
One of the best ways to develop an employee into a leader is to be mentored by a current leader.  This way, the employee will know what to expect and gain knowledge from a person already in that position.  If there is a planned exit of an executive, it's wise for the leader to engage in active mentoring. This may include inviting the successor to key meetings, and making him or her aware of business challenges.

Test Run
Vacations can be a great opportunity for you to put a future leader into a role to see how he or she performs.  This allows you to gage if the employee is ready now or if there is further development to be had. 

Encourage Involvement
Having full support is vital to the success of your succession plan.  When everyone knows their role and that their contributions are appreciated, you will have a better chance of success when it comes time to put that plan into place.

Review
Rome was not built in a day and neither are successful succession plans.  Be sure to review your plan regularly and carefully to make sure that an employee you’ve marked as a future leader is still with the company and fits your criteria for a good leader.

The most important thing to remember is that succession planning is a process.  It is going to take time, effort, and consistent re-evaluation but if you set up a strong succession plan, you will be paving the way for a successful future.

What tips would you recommend for those looking to revamp their succession plan?  We’d like to hear from you so please leave us your comments.

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