Succession Planning: A Bold Investment

Succession Planning_A process, not an event“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”- Ecclesiastes 4:9

The concept of teamwork has been around for ages as referenced in this passage of Ecclesiastes. However, for the reward to be realized, a leader must ask,

  1. What am I doing to develop Myself
  2. What am I doing to develop Others

The building block of succession planning starts with addressing these two questions. Why? Growth doesn’t happen. For the process to work,

  1. a) it must be intentional,
  2. b) the occupant of the current key position must have already achieved personal growth, and
  3. c) are aware of their potential and are actively functioning in a growth environment.

Succession planning is a systematic approach to ensuring leadership continuity within an organization by recruiting and encouraging individual employee growth and development. It’s not about having people…it’s about having the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

The Blue Print

Succession planning is a bold investment as it answers the question of What am I doing to develop others. You begin first by developing yourself then shift the focus to those around you in most instances it’s your team. The succession blueprint starts with these questions in mind:

  • What percentage of your employees will retire in the next five years? Ten years?
  • What percentage of your employees are looking for other employment?
  • What are you doing about it?

According to John C. Maxwell, “Most people recognize that investing in a team brings benefits to everyone on the team.” However, the rate at which a team experiences growth, is predicated upon on the leader’s influence. Developing your team allows the decision to be conceptualized into tangible steps. These steps then become the catalyst for an assessment of key leadership roles-therefore shifting the focus to the organizations’ most valuable asset- its people.

As we see, succession planning first begin with being intentional in personal growth and taking steps to acquire the skills, education, and experiences needed to qualify for a key position within an organization. Long gone are the days of promotion based on tenure. Leadership roles are becoming more and more competitive by the day.

So how can you as a leader develop your team and prepare them for future roles and not just existing ones? John Maxwell offers ten steps you can take to invest in your team.

  1. Decide to build/grow your team.
  2. Gather the best team possible.
  3. Pay the price to the develop the team.
  4. Do things together as a team
  5. Empower team members with responsibility and authority.
  6. Give credit for success to the team.
  7. Watch to see that the investment in the team is paying off.
  8. Stop your investment in players who do not grow.
  9. Create new opportunities for the team.
  10. Give the team the best possible chance to succeed.

John believes that one of the greatest things about investing in a team is that almost guarantees a high return for the effort because a team can do so much more than individuals.

Finally, the goal of succession planning is to identify those around us who have leadership potential, which allows middle management and other vital positions the opportunity to create a structured Road Map with accompanying Development Plan to prepare employees with opportunities to fill key vacancies within the organization.

References: EQUIP Leadership, Inc.: An Investment for the Future. http://www.iequip.org/daily-devotional/an-investment-for-the-future

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