When running a business of any kind it is important to continuously look to the future in order to determine what challenges it may bring. This is why so many leaders focus greatly on goals and upcoming societal and cultural changes. Sometimes, however, unexpected obstacles can creep up and these complications, if not handled properly, can be the demise of an organization. This is one of the many reasons why succession planning is so important.
Succession planning is a way of acknowledging that staff working in key positions within an organization will not be in their positions indefinitely, and it provides a process and a plan for implementing these transition periods.
Whenever possible, succession planning should utilize internal employees. By employing this tactic, the organization will be seen as one which is committed to the development of career paths, rather than positions with no opportunity for advancement. This will create a reputation as an employer committed to investing in its employees and their future. This practice will also facilitate the company’s ability to not only acquire, but also retain an exceptional workforce who is motivated and dedicated towards the organization’s goals.
Succession planning does come with its fare share of challenges. It is important that you continually revise your plans and ensure they are continuously aligned with the overall goals of the organization. Equally important is the necessity to provide adequate training to those who are to take over vacant positions in order to avoid panic and mistakes. It is also necessary that this plan stresses the importance of promoting individuals at a steady pace. A company which holds employees in their positions for too long faces the possibility of their potential successors leaving to seek new opportunities with which they can move through the ranks at a quicker pace. Finally, it is essential to communicate your succession plan to all members of the organization. Unless the issue is addressed, the workforce will speculate the existence or legitimacy of the plan. This has the potential to create a mistrusting and unmotivated staff.
Creating a realistic and also goal-oriented succession plan is a very important concept to continually revisit and revise as a leader within an organization. It is important to ensure that unexpected circumstances can be met by well-thought plans. It is never too soon to create a succession plan and begin hiring lower-level employees with the goal of moving them into higher positions within the organization; we’ve already begun!