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Succession Planning: Making a Smooth Transition

Creating a successful succession plan is critical to a smooth, effortless transition of control in a company. Many times this process takes years to complete, and in the end the transition may not be a smooth as you had thought it would be. Here are some practical ideas on how you can help impact your company’s succession planning efforts.

    1. Thinks of the planning as a process to develop a new leader. Planning does not develop someone that can follow in your foot steps and run the business the way it should be ran. It is important to focus on what you need from someone that is taking over your place in the company. What traits do you want them to have? What does their leadership look like? Can they do the same job you do and take the company into the future? The planning part needs to be in the checklist, forms, charts, meetings, and due dates that formulate the expectations of a new leader. Don’t fall into the planning trap and never get around to the actual execution of the plan.
    2. Measure outcomes, not process. This is putting emphasis on the important. You need to have clear cut goals and defined rewards for meeting the goals. Leadership development is not the end game because you can develop thousands of leader and not find the right person to fit the top job. Make it a priority to establish and measure goals. Tracking the progress will help the planning process and set you on to your next steps in the process. Track data during the process so when the time comes again to venture through this process you have formulated answers to question that may arise.
    3. Remember to keep it simple. It is not rocket science. Having increasing complex assessments and criteria as part of the succession plan is impractical and unreasonable. These test should be built into the leadership training program as opposed to creating hoops to jump through. This is just the precursor to the actual development, so save the additional hoops for when they pass the initial criteria.
    4. Keep things realistic. Just because they look good on paper does not mean that they will be able to perform up to expectations. It is important to pick someone based on performance and not unrealistic development expectations. Don’t jerk people around and communicate the needs and wants of the company clearly and without basis to find the perfect person to complete the succession plan.
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