Succession Planning for Long-Term Success

One of the hardest things for people to think about is what will happen when they “move on down the road”. Moving down said road can entail everything from retirement to passing away, and this especially gets to be a hard topic when it comes to the notion of succession planning.

Succession planning, at its most basic, happens to be how someone chooses things to move forward in terms of organizing leadership in a business hierarchy when they’re no longer running things.

Such planning involves breaking down one’s business in such a way as to assess all team members and their value to the organization. This is not an easy issue to discuss, but it is imperative to the successful running of a business for the long-term. No business, regardless of its size, can operate without the right people in the right place.

In order to best identify what it takes to have successful succession planning, it may be best to identify the mistakes that most business owners make when taking on this particular process.

As is the case with just about any facet of success, procrastination is perhaps the worst thing that can happen. All business leaders know that they need to focus on succession planning, but they sometimes direct their attention to something “more important”. Nothing is more important than the sustainability of your business, and this is a big step in that process. Waiting to long to start the process may jeopardize the decision-making process.

It’s also key to avoid choosing people you like instead of the right people. Friendly relationships can sometimes become strained when someone feels snubbed for a promotion down the line. However, a good business owner must identify the key roles in their business & the skills needed for those positions, thereby narrowing the field of candidates. Your hope is that you’ve developed a business-minded rapport with your employees so they understand that succession planning is a matter of preserving a business.

Don’t pit employees against each other. You want to be sure you put a proper succession plan in place early enough so that the work environment around your potential succession candidates, as well as your entire business, doesn’t become toxic. This, of course, means being able to see into the future, so to speak, and find a successor(s) needs to be a person with vision & the skills to back it up.

Finally, it’s also important for successful succession planning that the current leader fosters a relationship with whomever is chosen to take over. A good leader should be like a veteran quarterback that’s on the sideline sharing his knowledge and guiding the “new guy” through any pitfalls they encounter.

Successful succession planning is not an easy topic to discuss, but it is important & has substantial value for any business. It’s important to know that this type of planning is not about seeing the end in sight — it’s about understanding what your business needs now & for the future and choosing the right person/people to make it happen.