The moment we hear that business leaders and executives are working on (not just talking about) succession planning and building talent depth charts, we are ecstatic! Because the truth is, many talk about it, but don’t put any action behind the words. Sometime in the future, we’ll hear, “Yeah, we were talking about creating a succession plan for that role. We just never got around to it.”
But do you know what really gets us excited about succession planning? (Excited about succession planning? Yeah, we’re weird.) It’s when executives understand the connection between the business strategy and succession. Wait, what? Yep. Businesses that build their strategic plan by creating a picture of what the future of the business looks like, then questions what skills, talents, and experiences will be needed to accomplish the future vision of the company are more prepared for the future than those who are simply replacing people. We can tell you that not many companies look at succession from the perspective of what talents and skills the organization will need to accomplish its future vision. Typically, they simply look at who is prepared to replace the person in a key role should they retire or leave for some other unexpected reason.
Why go the extra steps in thinking about what the future organization needs rather than just replacing people? Here are just a few reasons:
Change. Industries, tools and equipment, competition. They are all changing so quickly that what created the success of today is probably not what will create your success tomorrow. Start preparing today.
Retention. When employees know that there are new positions being created because you’re preparing for growth and change, they see the future of your business. Helping people develop the skills and experiences needed to advance and lean are crucial to retaining employees.
Energy. Forcing the leaders and the rest of the company to look at the future, create the future and not hide from the unknown is taking charge. Eyes wide open. It feels so much better being in the driver’s seat versus being a victim. Being proactive gives energy to the team and organization. It shows opportunities and engages employees.
STOP talking about succession planning. Take action to build successors and not to find replacements. Better yet, look at your strategic plan, the future picture of your business, and determine what knowledge, talents and experiences will be needed. Then get started.
For 5 steps to help you create a succession plan, click here.