If there’s one thing we can guarantee in the world of business, it’s change.
And being adequately prepared for such change can mean the difference between success and failure in sustaining a business’s profitability and legacy over the long run.
A key component to effectively planning for future changes in a company is succession planning, which is critical to ensure the right people are prepared and ready to step up when it comes time for the current leaders to step down.
But not only does succession planning provide an opportunity for companies to take the time needed to effectively prepare the next generation of leaders, it also helps to motivate employees to learn more and strive for bigger and better things within the organization.
At its very core, succession planning involves pinpointing specific team members who have shown great potential to take on future leadership roles as they become available due to the current powers-that-be either stepping down, retiring, or passing away.
There’s no sense in spending time, effort and capital actively advertising and recruiting outside people to fill these positions when there are highly capable internal team members who would make a better fit for the job.
Once these high-potential candidates are identified, the necessary time and resources can be dedicated to providing them with suitable training and opportunities to make sure they indeed are a perfect fit to replace upper-level positions.
The Time to Start Succession Planning is Now
Although there may be time to plan for the availability of some leadership positions, others may become available with little or no advance notice. In such cases, putting the next leaders in place can be difficult, especially if the positions need to be filled right away. Without enough time to carefully select these individuals and mentor them to the point that they can easily slide into power positions, the entire company and its investments can be put at risk.
Avoiding Gaps and Vulnerabilities
An important benefit of succession planning is having the opportunity to identify if there are any voids within the team, and to pinpoint any incompetencies that might otherwise have gone unnoticed until it’s too late. If there are any vulnerabilities that exist which would have dire consequences for the business, it’s best to identify them early on.
A business at risk of losing a top-tier manager with no one on the sidelines ready to step in is at risk for poor performance, which could have a ripple effect and eventually cost the company’s bottom line dearly. Whether nobody wants the job, or the ones that do are simply not competent enough to successfully fill the position, this scenario can be detrimental to the health of a company.
By discovering such vulnerabilities before they become a problem, businesses can take measures to find and train the right internal candidates, and make sure they’re ready and able to easily take over when they’re called.
Succession Planning Isn’t Just About the Future of the Company
While the key goal of succession planning is to make sure the right individuals are ready, willing and adequately trained to take over leadership roles when the time comes, it also benefits the present operations of the company.
An effective succession plan can be put in action before its current leaders vacate their positions; it can be also used to develop strong leadership, encourage executives to thoroughly examine the current goals of the company, and help the organization persevere through daily changes that inevitably occur in the marketplace.
The Bottom Line
Key leaders don’t always plan their exit over years or even over months. Sometimes the unexpected and undesired occurs, such as the sudden death of an executive. In such circumstances, it would be much easier to summon those who’ve already been identified and prepped to take over, rather than scramble in chaos to fill the spot without causing hiccups in the business’s operations.
Succession planning can bridge the gap between current leaders and the successors that eventually take the baton once it’s passed to them.