In my previous post on Succession Planning Best Practices, I touched on the first four steps for succession planning. Now it's time to move on after you're done "setting the table."
Remember, the essence of the first 4 steps included “setting the table” for good succession planning by establishing your organization’s overall goals; getting a valuation report for an independent assessment of your financial situation; and assembling a team of external advisors to help you with the process.
In these next steps (beginning with Step 5) we’ll focus on what needs to be covered during the succession planning.
Step 5 – Pursue the succession selection. After establishing the vision and goals for your organization, you now have a well-defined position to fill. Are you looking for a period of fast growth? Hoping to expand overseas? Whatever the goals, your leadership needs to be uniquely qualified to meet them.
This may not, unfortunately, fit the role of someone in your family. This is where you really need to hear the voice of your external advisors. Blood runs deep, but being swayed by family ties won’t do your business – or your family – any favors. Put the wrong person in the wrong place, and your business and family will only undergo a slow, mutually shared demise.
Step 6 – Establish successor training. Whether you decide to go internally with a candidate or hire externally, your new leadership will need to be trained on your business. Even if it’s someone who has worked within the ranks his or her entire career, filling those CEO shoes is a whole new ball game.
In this portion of training, you should establish a solid coaching relationship plan. Be specific about goals and benchmarks for your new leader, and make sure you’ve got the resources in place to really let your top choice excel.
Step 7 – Create a contingency plan. Remember Murphy’s Law, because you never know how things will really work out until you see the plan in action. In the event things go badly, you should have a Plan B alternative waiting in the wings.
Step 8 – Implement, execute and measure. Nothing sinks your ship like implementing a plan but failing to tack on metrics to measure success. Be sure that you’re very upfront and clear about the goals that need to be reached and how you’re going to get there to make it happen. You also need to implement and execute the plan so your new CEO has a fighting chance to succeed.
Now you’ve got the broad strokes for the succession planning process. Use this as your framework, and let your team of external advisors fill in the detail-work; that’s where they excel. Together, you can create a succession plan that helps you fulfill the goals of your business well into the future.
Photo by S John Davey