One of Franklin Covey’s famed ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ is to begin with the end in mind, and succession planning, or the strategy of identifying and preparing future company leaders for advancement, should be no different.
Succession planning is an extremely important aspect of preparing for the future of a company, as it creates focus on long-term success, disaster-proofs your business and various leadership roles, and helps to create employment longevity with opportunities for growth.
Keeping succession in mind early on is especially critical for female executives, partially because women are much more likely to leave their jobs for personal or family reasons. Early planning ensures that a company will have plenty of time to carefully prepare, weigh out possible scenarios, and groom leaders for higher level roles. So how can you, as a female executive, prepare for succession? Here are some things to consider.
Think about succession during the hiring process
It may seem premature to keep succession in mind as you interview entry level candidates, but it’s helpful to look for leadership potential early on in order to set your company up for future success. Ask yourself what your business goals are and visualize the future you want for your company. Does this entry level candidate have a place in that picture?
Cultivate open communication about future plans
The best succession plan is one that is fluid, flexible, and continually contemplated. Make succession a topic of discussion. Schedule an annual or even semiannual meeting to discuss leadership positions and potential candidates with members of your senior leadership team, as well as with any stakeholders. Take the time to examine your current workforce and map out any potential gaps that would open up if a current staff member was to retire or seek a new job. Fill the gaps prematurely by keeping a pool of qualified and dedicated team members on your staff.
Ease your successor into the role
Once you have singled out potential successors, give them opportunities to show what they’re capable of. If a member of the leadership team is taking a vacation for example, pass some responsibilities to the potential successor. You will be able to gauge where they are at, performance-wise, as well as learn which areas they might need to be more heavily trained in.
Learning a new role and new responsibilities doesn’t happen over night. The sooner you start brainstorming and planning for succession, the better for everyone involved.
At The Humphreys Group, we understand the unique challenges of a transition, and welcome these challenges with a deep commitment to providing you with a comfortable, collaborative setting to explore your concerns and follow your dreams. We help you plan with purpose. Reach out today for a complimentary, obligation-free consultation.