Majority of the organizations have a strategy and an accurate plan which highlights an organization’s vision and objectives for the future that is not only achievable but also sustainable in the long run. However, very few organizations have a strategy plan for succession – leadership transition when a key executive retires or exits.
Many of the present day C-suite executives are approaching the age of retirement, but unfortunately, organizations do not have any formal plan for succession. According to the American Management Association, only about 8 percent of companies have a “comprehensive development program,” and about a quarter haven’t done succession planning at all.
Leaders need to proactively and effectively plan for a leadership transition with two to five years out, starting with identifying and prioritizing certain key challenges that are being faced by the organization. Post that, assess the characteristics and skill level of the potential leader that can help in addressing these challenges. Decide what’s important for you – a strategist, collaborator or an all-round expert?
Whatever it is that you’re looking for, you need to remember that the idea is not to seek a clone of the departing executive but an effective future leader who understands the organization’s strategic plans, challenges and aspirations. It is advisable that you gain a consensus and concur for a system that prioritizes the characteristics and creates a leadership success profile that can be used as a threshold to measure candidates against.
There might be conflicting feelings around preparing successors. A current leader’s professional and personal identity are heavily invested and may carry a heavy shadow on the role. He/she may experience mixed feelings about the impending transition.
Leadership transition is a two-part process. One, select the right candidate and help him/her succeed i.e. the successor accepts the offer. Two, develop an efficient onboarding process which is inclusive of short- and long-term goals, time frames, and results.
Succession planning can be strenuous and exhausting process for the top management. It is important that an integration plan is developed based on key transition issues to facilitate effective and smooth transition. Connecting with a professional service provider like Legacy Transitions can make succession planning easier so that the out-boarding process simple and hassle free.