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Succession Planning

The difference between an organization that runs effectively and one that doesn’t, can be easily seen through their succession planning.  Not only who will take over next but how they are trained and what key principles are instrumental to operations.  What does Nancy’s Flowers look like if Nancy isn’t around?  Maybe Nancy wins the lottery and moves to Tahiti.  What will happen to her employees?

Or a more common scenario, what if that key employee who she depends on and has grown with Nancy’s Flowers leaves.  And with their departure, the knowledge of how to run the new software or make changes to the website?

Succession planning is not just for owners but also important for the security of every team member.   It includes their exit plan but helps in day-to-day operations, value of the business, strength of the organization, team engagement, loyalty, and the list goes on.  Let’s look at a few things to consider.

 

Think Big Picture: Plan what you need before you need it. 

 

Mentor and groom employees to takeover key roles.  Identify what you need to reach the goals that you have in the next 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.

Set a precedence for continuing education and career development.  Not only will it potentially strengthen your organization in the future it can mean the difference in job satisfaction and reduction of turnover.

Know your exit.  Will you sell the business or leave it to a family member?  What kind of value are you creating now that will make a difference at your departure?

 

Set standards: Understand key principles within your operations that make you unique.

 

What are the values of your organization?  What difference does your product and service make and to whom?

What does your culture look like? Define how people work together internally, with vendors and partners, and with clients.  Create common grounds.

Write these down on paper so there is no misinterpretation.

Follow them yourself and set the example.  People won’t do things you suggest when you are unwilling to do them yourself. 

 

Create documentation

Track time every 6 months to determine who actually does what and if you could prioritize with more intention.

Write down instructions for common or recurring activities.  Occasionally review these to make your process clearer.  Use these to train new team members.

Check out our post on Process Documentation.

 

 

Include Your team

Assess the players that make you successful.  Are there outsourced partners that are key to getting things done?  Think about your board or advisors, management roles that are hard to fill, and volunteers.

How would the picture look without them?  Who would take over or how would your operations change? 

Include the team in documentation, planning, and be sure to hold them accountable to your standards. 

Create opportunities for ongoing career development.

 

 

Time passes in the blink of an eye.  We don’t know what the future holds.  You won’t regret investing the time now into planning for the future.  Especially when you can benefit immediately from the actions your planning creates.

A couple of articles to help guide you further:

Engaging in Succession Planning Shrm.org

The holy grail of effective leadership succession planning Deloitte.com

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