Succession planning is commonly associated with a business where a process is used to identify, develop, and install new leaders when existing leaders are terminated, retire, become disabled, or die. The gray zone is when a transfer of power should take place on a voluntary basis. The process is not easy on the existing leaders nor those in competition for the top spot or downline positions.
The prevention of chaotic power struggles is one of the aims of a thorough succession plan. From a holistic and ongoing perspective, the word “process” is generally a better descriptor.
The process of succession planning and implementation on a business level is one that many founding partners have a difficult time with. The business is their baby, and like raising a child, there comes a time to make a clean break.
The transition from one generation to another or one administration to another may be sudden, intermediate, or over a prolonged period. Regardless of the length of transfer, there must be a clean and crisp break to avoid confusion.
This is the case when there is a new President of the United States. Despite all of the denial of legitimacy by radical opponents, the founding fathers of the nation understood the need for key business continuation principles to be applied to the operation of government.
In a family, business, or government, nothing good comes from a power vacuum. Professional baseball is an excellent example of a deeply ingrained business process of ongoing continuation planning. The Major League team is always the most popular and should have the best players, but the farm teams are critical to the continuing success of any franchise. Player development is no different than the internal development potential of leaders. Succession should be viewed as a dynamic and ongoing process with backup candidates being given trial runs. In doing so, the departure of good but not great employees will take place when opportunities dry up.
When the baton is passed, and the founder remains engaged, there will be a natural reaction by some employees to seek the guidance of the founder before that of the new leader. Guidance is fine, but day-to-day operations must never be sidetracked by allowing a confusing situation as to who is in charge to exist. The comedy skit of “Who’s On First” comes to mind.
Commit to giving up control
Create a timeline
Engage, monitor, and adjust
But what if you are not the owner of a business, does any of this apply? Yes.
Always remember and never forget, we promote and actively encourage each person to think of themselves as a lifestyle business where one’s lifestyle is their business. This is a key and fundamental concept that is lost on most people. For those who get it, understand it, and practice it, the similarities are easy to grasp.
From an individual, family, partner, or complex business basis, succession planning is an ongoing process that is merely another form of project management.
Financial, business, succession, or long-term care planning are all based on the foundation principles of project management. With a clear head and grasp of the facts and figures, successful succession is possible.
Think About It