There are infinite examples of how disastrous not having a succession plan can be. Any form of institution or establishment isn’t immune from succession issues. Particularly so, it’s even more important in business establishments because many businesses have died out due to lack of proper succession. I do acknowledge that succession is often skirted by most people for various reasons. Some tend to think they’ll cross the bridge when they get there whilst most never even spare a thought for it. If you founded and are leading a business you should give serious thought to succession issues. Not intending to sound pessimistic or negative but at times unforeseen circumstances can lead to scenarios where a business is left at the centre of a succession storm. So in this article, I discuss some important things you should know about succession planning.
It’s Best Started Early
Have an appreciation for succession planning from very early on in the growth of your business. Once your business has graduated out of the startup phase then you need to start putting in place mechanisms for succession planning. The startup phase differs from business to business but can last as long as 10 years. The reason why starting early is important is because it’ll help you set up a company or business culture that has frameworks that are in synch with succession planning. For instance, if it’s a family business you start involving your kids in the running of the business from a young age.
Creating A Leadership Culture
Every form of leader or anyone with responsibility in a business or company must be regarded as a leader. They must deliberately be assigned tasks in such a way that nurtures the leader in them. You mustn’t lose sight of the fact that succession simply doesn’t mean replacing one leader only it can entail a shift across the whole system. So succession planning puts in place measures that end up cultivating a leadership culture across the whole business. Preparing your business to operate optimally in your absence is the hallmark of a great leader. Years of remarkable accomplishments can be compromised by poorly executed successions so it’s important to groom people for future leadership beforehand.
Making It About The Vision Not You
It’s commonplace for business leaders to shun the idea of having someone succeed them. Most people have the notion that the whole existence of the business revolves around them and no one is better suited to take over. If you value succession planning you’ll appreciate that a business idea is a vision and a vision outlives the visionary. If you make it solely about you then once you’re out of the picture then everything goes downhill. Remember it’s not necessarily death that can necessitate succession; sudden illness or old age are possible causes for the need for succession. We’ve often been taught on how a great leader reproduces him or herself – this means mentorship is important. With succession in mind, you’ll enact mentorship initiatives in the company that’ll help identify and rightly position its leaders for the future.
Leaving A Legacy
Surveys have shown that most business owners are too invested in their businesses to a point where they see themselves at the helm till eternity. This has to do with sentimental value where someone doesn’t ever want to part with something dear to them. This often leads to a situation where business leaders don’t have any succession plans in place. The tragic result of this is that most of what you’ll ever be remembered for is how you dismally failed to properly plan for succession in your business. That’ll be the lasting impression people will have on their minds as they remember you. If you want to leave a positive lasting legacy then properly plan for succession. Not only will this save the business the trouble of going through succession battles; it’ll leave a legacy that’ll always be attributed to your name. Succession is not so much about getting yourself out of the picture but it’s rather about you preparing the business for the future.
How To Pick Successors
Most studies have revealed that most businesses pick a successor with someone in mind already who is somehow thrust onto the seat. The better way to pick successors that’s most recommended is to, over time, create a profile of the kind of successor the company or business would need. This will be informed mainly by the long term vision of the business – the direction it’s taking. For example, business directions tend to be either continuity-driven or change-driven. So factors like that, and more, will help guide how a suitable profile is developed for the right kind of successor. Ultimately when the time comes for succession the profile will then be used to evaluate, assess and pick the best choice from a pool of candidates. This approach helps eliminate disgruntlement or outcries over incidences of nepotism. Besides, it’ll ensure the choice is made based on merit and objectivity. Never make the mistake of misconstruing long-serving or loyalty as suitability for being a successor – it’s not always black and white like that. Another important thing to note is to never do anything that can be misinterpreted as a hint on who the successor shall be.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. It’s unwise to run your business without concrete plans for how succession will be handled in your business. The subject of succession planning is very broad and has several talking points. The purpose of this article was to make you realize how important succession planning is for your business. Always remember that succession planning isn’t about making a statement or rewarding anyone it’s about establishing the company or business’ future now. The other thing you must bear in mind is that don’t always seek out to be succeeded by someone like you – often times that can be injurious to the future of the business.