Business Growth & Strategy

Tips for Planning a Smooth Succession

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. –Jack Welch

The great fundamental certainty of life is that there will be change. As a rising leader in your company, you will face promotions, job changes, goal achievements, and eventually retirement. However, as you rise, you leave behind the openings where you used to perform, and if you don’t create a succession strategy, it can foster uncertainty and instability in your company. Fostering security and stability for your employees helps them to spend less time wondering about changes coming along or suspecting their colleagues of having unfair
Here are several tips for a smooth leadership succession:advantages, and more time being productive and working as a team.

1. Utilize your high potentials

If you have already been implementing systematic strategies to identify and develop high potentials among your employees, then you have already taken the first steps towards grooming them for leadership in the position you will soon vacate. Stretch and challenge their abilities by giving them more responsibility and delegating more of your tasks to them as the time for you to leave comes closer. This will keep your successor from becoming overwhelmed with a sudden new set of tasks and make their first day in their new position one where they can be confident rather than wondering if they’re in the right place.

2. Consider company culture and values

The person who you choose as your successor will find their transition smoother if their values match up with those of the company as well as the group they will be leading.  A good person for the job may have all the expertise needed to perform their duties, but if they don’t hold the same values (for example, they are not as social as the rest of the department, or they do not see public affirmation of achievement as a priority when it is considered to be) success may be a challenge. If you have already analyzed their motivations using the Hogan Values Assessment, you will be able to see more clearly how that person will fit in as a leader and as a representation of company values.

3. Ensure company stability

The most important aspect of succession is making sure that the stability of your company is not impacted negatively due to the changes being made. If an employee has the skills, talents, and values necessary to fill a leadership position but an external hire is used to fill it instead, this can demotivate employees by discouraging their ambitions and desire to grow. However, if you have a policy of promote from within only and someone who is not a good fit is given the role when better talent could be found externally, resentment may grow among the new leader’s former peers, as they don’t understand what qualities got that person promoted instead of someone else. Every succession situation is different, so every succession plan must be different, and account for the present talent resources, the needs of the position, and what is best for the company as a whole. When the company works cohesively under a good leader, customers can be assured, knowing that their business is in good and trustworthy hands.

How do you plan on handing the reins over to your successor? And if you haven’t identified your successor, what are your plans to get one in place?

Category: Business Growth & Strategy


Beth Miller About the Author: Beth Miller

Beth Armknecht Miller, CMC, of Atlanta, Georgia, is a Vistage Chair and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development and coaching firm accelerating the leadership success of CEOs and business leaders from emerging to midsize companies..

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