It’s likely you’ve recently had a fire drill or sprinkler system test done at your facility, but have you tested your succession plan? Is the company prepared for an immediate leadership transition, and who will take your organization to the next level?
Let’s make a simple, but uncomfortable, assumption. Today is not like any other at your company because you are not going to be there now, nor ever again. Is it now timely and urgent that you’ve identified exactly how you want things to move forward? Have you formally and adequately prepared your company for today?
What will happen once the predictable shock and grief have subsided? Are rumors and gossip the reigning metrics now driving company performance? Are customers suddenly left to wonder about how this situation affects them and their customers? It is important to recognize an unplanned or poorly planned transition will affect organizational stability and sustainability, and could rapidly put your company out of business, and your employees and family members out of a job.
Succession planning may be a difficult subject to embrace, or the easiest can kicked down the road and subordinated to “higher priorities” but done properly it will change a difficult and challenging situation into an occasion that fosters organizational maturity and growth. Succession planning gives the organization a basis from which to explain the leadership transitions and build up the organization that will remain operational and financially stable. Succession planning isn’t a singular event, but a progressive process to create an organization where leadership runs both deep and wide, with internal and external stakeholders equally aligned and accountable.
Here are a few ideas on how to start a succession planning initiative:
- Identify the roles where succession needs to be planned for;
- Evaluate the readiness for leadership of the resources (competencies, skills, experience) in these roles;
- Get buy in of and commitment by these staff members to the process; ensure accountability;
- Create a high-level contingency plan;
- Analyze and understand the future needs, skills, and competencies of internal and external resources;
- Identify and assess potential successions for key positions;
- Create development plans for individuals to bridge the identified gaps;
- Hiring from outside the organization with a perspective on future needs and potential leadership successors;
- Periodically review and assess the effectiveness of leadership development strategy and the Succession Plan; adjust as appropriate.
With these recommendations in place, your organization will be positioned to continue operations when the time of transition occurs, albeit planned or unexpectedly. Having an experienced and unbiased external facilitator quarterbacking the succession planning process, and holding all the internal and external stakeholders accountable, is a proven approach. A facilitator managing a carefully-designed step-by-step process helps keep everyone aligned and provides benchmarks to gauge forward progress and illuminate impediments. Insyte has the capability to help, for information please contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com