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Succession Planning is Critical

Succession Planning is Critical

Everyone you ever meet will have a tale of a failed leader and one that has been successful in a different organizational context. Sometimes, that’s true even for the same organization. Every leader has their own set of challenges and styles to apply to it. Some will be more vocal, shouting and remonstrating loudly.

Others will watch and observe mannerisms and speak their mind through their mannerisms. No two people are alike, and that’s why leadership styles also vary. That’s why you have to be very wary when conducting succession planning exercises. It is very challenging to do on any businessman’s checklist.

The need to conduct succession planning is paramount. But surprisingly enough, many businesses fail to make the transition and that is why a large number of businesses fall by the wayside, sold off or crumbling because the right leader doesn’t take over. 

Moreover, stakeholders and investors could conflict with the direction of the organization and that is why the process can be slowed down on account of conflict and strife. It’s not just about the CEO either. 

Everyone across the length and breadth of the organization must be evaluated. Their skills, their attitudes need to be mapped as best possible so that the best candidate can be picked for the best position. I say everyone since it’s not only the CEO that you need succession planning for.

What if your Chief Information Officer, Chief Technical Officer, or Chief Financial Officer decides to move on? You need to know who to pick to replace them since that is as important a position as the CEO. 

It’s a challenge to fill these posts organically since the staff is required to fulfill not only all their current responsibilities but also the added responsibilities delegated by the boss that left. It’s a game of dominoes that could affect everyone, and all because one position of yours has gone vacant. 

These plans cannot remain static either. They must be revisited and reworked from time to time as the need arises. They have to be updated to reflect any changes in the company values, prevailing market environment, and the abilities and commitment of the people you plan to pass the baton on to.

Many businesses just do not have anything remotely resembling succession planning. It is all a hap-hazard process addressed as and when the situation arises. Most alarmingly, even those leaders that are close to hitting retirement have got any succession planning efforts on the anvil. 

The need is to start early, as early as possible, and have a plan in place, no matter how far into the future a leader might move on or retire. It’s all about picking the right people for the right jobs. 

Sometimes, after scouring high and far, you might notice that no one is worth promoting within the organization and you might want to pick someone from outside. That too can be discovered only if you do a proper succession planning exercise. That holds equally true for ownership succession and management succession.

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