How To Use Succession Planning To Build A Successful Team

Martin Haworth

Instances where key positions may become suddenly a gap in your business include, in the most severe case, death, sudden transfers, domestic emergencies, sudden resignations and more.

For this you need to be ready well beforehand with a plan in place to make good the shortfall really quickly.

And another reason for getting your succession plan process in place is where a key employee may need to be released from the job due to certain misdemeanours and dismissal is fast and unplanned.

If someone leaves for retirement you usually have the time to plan accordingly, but not always.

Whatever the cause is, an organization needs to plan the replacement of all key individuals so that when the need arise, everything will be ready and move on smoothly.

Bear in mind that succession planning is contextual. Where it might seem that a senior board member with huge responsibilities is a major corporate loss, for a manager of a team of employees, the loss of a key player in that team can be catastrophic, even at that level.

And since succession planning is neither complicated or expensive, anyone who could at this time be vulnerable to the loss of a vital team member should sit up and take note of this challenging issue and start preparing!

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Succession Planning Challenges To Overcome

Planning the successors of key individuals in a company is necessary for business growth. The future can never be accurately determined but it is best to be prepared for it as much as possible.

Planning for succession should be done properly. One good way to go about is to have the senior individuals themselves review who their potential successors might be.

A delegation of potential successor candidates can be formed. It is best if the candidates are not only composed of two or three individuals but more.

It is also important that the organization or the senior employees conduct an extensive examination of each candidates’ skills and abilities and prepare the next step to new challenges gradually.

One important factor to take a look into should be the team building skills of the candidates. The plans for succession are after all conducted because the positions involved are the key ones. Disruptions in these positions would lead to possibly disastrous outcomes.

And these key positions are more than likely to involve management of other people and coordinating many things. So team building skills are definitely necessary must-haves of the successor candidates.

The candidates should then undergo a performance management process, where they are observed closely, measuring what they do and how they go about it, with next steps planned carefully.

The guidelines for these observations should be based on the necessary requirements of the potential position(s) in question.

Succession Planning Necessities

When planning for a succession, those managing the process should also prepare relevant development plans for the immediate and long-term future.

The candidates should be exposed to cases and scenarios that would prepare them for handling the position as well as taking on real-world secondments to build experience.

No, not all of them will be chosen in the end and, of course, the experiences they have gone through will definitely improve them. If one outcome of succession planning brings along the improvement of many employees, then so much the better, right?

So without question, all succession plan candidates should undergo beneficial and useful training and development programs. In fact this as a process is the most vital component of making this a worthwhile activity.

If a key employee needs to be released from their position to move onwards and upwards, consider first that employee’s suitability and, where possible, future potential.

Planning for a successor can definitely take a good amount of time for best results to be achieved.

So in the first place, ensure that the candidate learns well from the safety (for them and the organization) of their existing position, with the occasional stretching and focused experiences making them ready for more.

Succession planning, as a planned and focused activity for all of your key positions, right down to the lowest level of team, will be a very useful exercise and ensure that your business is at the very least maintained.

And in many cases, as individuals develop and grow – to unprecedented and perhaps unexpected growth.

For more on Succession Planning, check out “The Succession Planning Toolkit”

Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com

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Greg Meares


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