Weak Bench Strength

Working with businesses across the country, we hear a lot of talk about preparing companies for the exit of their most senior managers…but sometimes it comes with very little action. What’s up with that?

When you ask many company owners who will take over for them, they usually answer with, “I don’t know! I don’t know of anyone who is like me.” After conversations like this, the action is thinking and talking, but usually no change.

So here’s what you do…

Start hiring the right people.  Hire what you need, not replace who you have.

Many of us have some very good habits. Habits are thoughts and actions that we do automatically…mostly without conscious thought, such as tying our shoes or saying “please.” They are safe and comfortable.

We also have habits that prevent us from moving forward. Habits like the comfort of working with a team of people over many years without much or any change in team members. We may have created a team that allows us to lead and be visionary, but no one else. It’s comfortable.

Hire who you need.  The right person may be different.

One CEO we worked with was talking about the fact that all of the people on the management team would retire or move in 5 years or less, with the exception of one person. Knowing that she needed to develop the bench for this team, she started looking at the people within the company who could fill the roles and positions. Those she identified were replicas of the people currently on the management team.

What she was really struggling with was determining what she needed (skills, experience, and knowledge) in those roles…in the future. The skills, experience, and knowledge she was going to need in three, five or even ten years down the road looks vastly different than what the company needs now.

  • Look at your company strategically; determine assumptions about the future, threats and opportunities, and a plan to take the company forward. This is not a goal-setting session. This is true strategic planning.
  • Identify what resources will be needed in the future to accomplish the plan. This includes knowledge, skills, and experience of the people in each role of the company.

Strengthening the bench is identifying what you really need, not what you’re already comfortable with. Then creating a plan and moving it forward. Hire and develop the people to meet the human resource needs of the future. It’s time to take action. Talking about it and thinking about it aren’t enough.

Look at your company strategically; determine assumptions about the future, threats and opportunities, and a plan to take the company forward. This is not a goal-setting session. This is true strategic planning. Click To Tweet

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