The most serious failure of leadership is the failure to foresee and plan.
5 Steps for Success
Step 1: Engage the Stakeholders
Engagement of a board in establishing criteria for succession planning creates buy-in and alignment from a panel who will select the next leader. They lead this process to ensure a dashboard for objectively measuring successional candidates. Ongoing review will be the difference in managing a crisis effectively. There is no such thing as a “ready now” candidate. If you have no board then The Engine can work with you through this process.
Step 2: Internal Successors
Your living document should detail the competencies and experiences required for your next leader. As outlined above, this will be reviewed and updated with any change in marketing conditions or strategy. If you have various layers of management, review each layer. Do not create favourites and start a destructive horse race. External assessment is essential and quite often dark horses emerge when you look deeper than the first layer. The Engine is well aware that employees lack in-depth business experience. With this in mind, we have established a ten week New Business 101 course. We know it’s the best investment you could make. Whether it be for succession now or to provide a key-person help.
It may become clear there are no internal candidates that fit the succession criteria. This is an obvious risk for the Company and a plan for recruitment and development needs to be put into play. The Engine’s New Business 101 course is generating talent. If you don’t have someone internally, we may have the right person for you to transition into your business. The Engine develops leadership capacity and prepares executives for transition into leadership. Funding may be available to you for this course.
Step 3: Set up the stimuli
Practice makes perfect in anything we do and that is the same in executing a succession plan. Step 2 identifies finding your successor. Either internally (and providing them with the best platform in-depth knowledge in running a business) or through The Engine’s profiled leaders seeking transitioning or new business opportunities. Establishing an emergency plan, wherein reins are required to be taken over will assess the viability of your successor in such conditions. This will help determine what further mentoring is required. The Engine provides the perfect platform to ensure your successor has the right support. Allowing you to concentrate on your business. There is no doubt a proven capable successor reduces the risk of the transition when it comes time to do so.
Step 4: On-board the successor
There’s a saying that a ‘ready now‘ candidate is a fool’s errand. All successors have learning to do and mistakes to recover from. When identifying and naming a successor, crucial support must be provided. This means a good team, wise and accessible mentors, executive coaching and continuous feedback. This creates an environment in which the new CEO can be the most effective.
Step 5: Summary
The Board must play an important role in succession planning. Honest jury-style external evaluation and a system to develop a rich talent pipeline are two of the areas where board members can make a difference. In this effort, directors have to remember: the search for their ‘similar‘ means identifying what is most critical. This means refocusing the successor on the moving target of the knowledge, skills, and abilities the next CEO will need to lead. We at The Engine can be your external board. We have a rich talent pipeline growing across all sectors.