No matter the size of your business one of the most pressing issues in longer term planning for business is succession planning.
Just take a look at any business, successful or otherwise, and particularly at the age of the top team. If the average age is over 55 then long term planning must be based more on hope than on realism.
Unfortunately, we all like to think or at least hope that we are immortal but we are manifestly not so.
When we are running a business we need to accept that eventually age does begin to wither us and if the business is to thrive in the future it will inevitably need a new set of leaders to step up and take the reins.
Many leaders resist making the decision to leave until the last possible moment, and some cannot make a clean break with many saying that they will “take on a few projects just to help out”.
- It is not often that a leader will walk away into the sunset without a backwards glance.
The fact is that succession planning cannot and should not be done at the last minute. If it is you will almost certainly leave the company at a disadvantage. Instead it should be incorporated into your strategy much earlier as a regular feature of all the business planning.
You must remember that it isn’t just the leader who will age; every key department or section leader needs to have a succession plan in place so that there are no surprises and any succession will be comparatively seamless.
What should you do?
- Firstly, there needs to be a constant review of people in the business and by that I certainly don’t mean by annual appraisals.
- You must consider how gaps in technology must be filled
- You must continue and develop your talent pool, skills must be added as your requirements for the future changes
- Most importantly, you must make sure the right people are being groomed for stardom. They will be the ones who will inherit the business perhaps not in the financial sense but certainly as the next generation of leaders.
Don’t wait until it is too late. Start the process right now.
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