Succession Planning - The Challenge Of Deciding The Next Generation of Leaders

succession planning

Succession planning is the process of deciding the next generation of leaders for a business.

Succession planning answers the all-important question: "who takes over from key people in the business when they retire or circumstances force them to leave?"

Many executives hate to discuss this subject perhaps because they do not see themselves leaving their exalted position with juicy benefits soon. So, they frown or get all jittery when the subject comes up for discussion.

In doing that, they sow seeds of failure for the business and sometimes for themselves.

How does failing to develop a suitable successor affect a leader?

Well, when senior colleagues think of promoting a fellow colleague to a higher job in the hierarchy, they often ask this question: "who will take over your job?"

A good leader should have a ready answer. Good leaders develop worthy successors long before they have to change jobs. In fact, a leadership that has no ready plan for a successor is often seen as a bad leadership.

Bottom line.

When you fail at succession planning, you risk your chances of growing higher in the organization. It's simple enough. If the profitability of the business will be jeopardized when you are promoted from a position, it pays the business to let you remain where you currently are adding the most value.

Want to grow in the business? Want to boost your career?

Don't get selfish. Plan for succession. Develop and groom a worthy successor long before opportunities open up for you to grow a step higher.

A second reason why planning for succession is critical is . . . the profitability of the business may be jeopardized if a key member of the business suddenly leaves without a suitable successor.

Executives or key people leave businesses for all kind of reasons. It can be through . . .

  • Retirement
  • Resignation
  • Termination for unethical conduct or
  • Death

    Reason 2,3, and 4 can happen suddenly - without notice. And the business can be thrown into crisis of leadership or power tussle if there is no clear succession planning already in place and understood by all.

    So, as a leader, it is in your best interest and that of the business you lead to have a structured plan for replacing key players in your organization.

    Once you have that carefully drawn up list of the next generation of leaders in the organization, begin to mentor them through formal and informal programs (e.g. exchange program across other businesses, company locations, or oversea partners) to develop the kind of skills you expect leaders in the next cadre to exhibit.

    Great businesses have gone under business of leadership crisis that erupted when the key player died or suddenly left. Don't let that happen to your organization or business. It will be just pathetic.

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