Why Succession Planning Can’t Wait

Business Edge-smart growth strategies-marcia

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]S[/su_dropcap]UCCESSION PLANNING is a lot like writing a will. Even when you want to prepare for the future, you tend to put it off until you get a good scare.

For Example:

In the early morning hours of September 11, the world watched in horror as commercial jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon. The loss of life and the destruction of property were beyond belief.

In the midst of this national challenge, several organizations had to face the sobering fact that they had lost key executives who were on the planes or in the buildings. They had to confront the reality that key talent and brainpower were gone forever. Immediately they also had to identify people and skills needed just to stay afloat.

Are You Prepared to Cross that Bridge When You Come to It?

There’s no way to plan for a disaster of the magnitude of the World Trade Center attacks. But there are specific things that an organization can do to prepare for key transition events such as the loss, resignation or retirement of key personnel, especially the CEO.

Working with an agency’s board of directors whose CEO – after 25 years of service – will soon retire, they are now focused on these four strategies for effective leadership succession.

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  1. Create a sense of responsibility.
    Although human resources can serve as a catalyst for effective succession planning, most successful organizations rely on senior level management or boards of directors to review and oversee this process on a regular basis. Succession planning is not something that can be delegated solely to a search firm or done in a one hour meeting.
  1. Identify key leadership criteria.
    It’s essential that an organization know what competencies it needs to succeed today and tomorrow. Therefore, identify appropriate selection criteria – the critical leadership skills, values, behavior and attitudes required for key positions. Realize different kinds of leaders are needed at different times in the life of an organization.
  1. Identify and develop future leaders.
    An organization needs to have a system in place for finding star employees and emerging leaders and ensure they’re ready for key positions. This can involve any of several approaches, including assessments, performance reviews and developmental assignments that properly prepare them for their new positions, as compared to a sink-or-swim approach.
  1. Keep it simple, realistic and part of your agenda.
    There are a few tools you will need such as a list of competencies, a performance appraisal system and insight into the marketplace when you start the search process. If you are a small to medium size organization, you do not need expensive technology or systems. What you do need to do is to make sure succession planning becomes as important as other key management processes.[/message]

Can an organization survive with a “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” approach to leadership succession?

Perhaps…but there are potential problems. When a leader or key player leaves, attention by staff shifts away from what needs to be done to wondering what’s next. Then you will see momentum stopping, productivity slipping, unhealthy competition rising, customers wondering and key stakeholders getting nervous.

[su_box title=”SMART MOVES TIP” style=”glass” box_color=”#2f598a”]The key to employee coaching is giving effective feedback. Feedback is information about performance that leads to the person changing poor performance or continuing good performance. There are two major types of feedback: Corrective – which is intended to be problem solving. It lets people know what should be improved and how to make the improvement. Its purpose is to help the person perform better the next time Positive – which is intended to be encouraging. It lets people know what they’ve done well and recognizes or rewards them for it. Its purpose is to motivate the person to maintain or even increase the performance.[/su_box]

My Motto Is:

If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Therefore, MOVE outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the MAGIC happens.” To bring that magic to your leadership and business, subscribe to Marcia’s monthly Execubrief: Business Edge- Smart Growth Strategies with insights, inspiration and intelligence on how to build great businesses that matter- those that do well and do good.

Did You Know That a New Kind of SMARTS is Needed?
75% of leaders are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle people problems, unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. – Center for Creative Leadership. Do you want to boost your emotional and social intelligence and be a more effective leader? Let me help you do it!

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Marcia Zidlehttp://www.smartmovescoach.com
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!
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Ed Gideon
Ed Gideon

Great article Marcia. “What happens if you don’t come to work tomorrow?”, is one to which most CEOs have no answer. Keep the good information and help coming.

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