You have worked hard to build your business into the successful company it is today. While its current state is important, obviously, and your success is admirable, to have a truly lasting legacy, a more than a generation success, you need to have a business successor to continue the progress you have started. This doesn’t have to be someone in your family necessarily, it could also be a trusted senior employee. This concept of considering who might take over for you might be hard for you to contemplate. This is normal. It’s not easy to think about what the future might hold or what your business might look like in your absence. However, if you don’t consider your succession plan— both for you and other executive positions in your company— and determine what you want the future of your company to look like, it can be detrimental to the longevity of your business overall, which is a much sadder prospect than simply choosing someone to take over for you.
It's Never too Late to Get Started, But Don't Wait too Long
While it truly isn’t ever too late to consider your successor, waiting until the last minute to determine who you want to choose isn’t ideal. In fact, not planning or thinking about leadership succession early enough can cause lots of stress and pressure when the time inevitably arrives. To ensure you don’t have this undue and needless stress, start thinking about succession options at least 5-10 years before you will need to replace either yourself or other key leadership positions within your organization.
Invest In Your Associates
Don’t relegate your associate-level employees to mere duties with no authority or decision-making capacities. Instead, properly prepare and even challenge your associate-level employees now, so they are ready to step into the leadership role when the opportunity arises. What’s even better is if you do this now, while you are still present and the current leaders are still present, less experienced associates can learn under the safety of your guidance and influence.
Take Advantage of Your Senior Worker's Expertise
As a business owner, you have to think about replacing not only yourself but every position of leadership within your company at some point. Senior workers and their level of expertise are invaluable resources you can take advantage of as a business owner. Ask them to pass along their expertise, the processes they use on the job and just general skill set to others so that their immense knowledge doesn’t leave the company when they retire.
Involve Multiple Levels of Management in Your Decision Making
Even if you have a person in mind for the role of your successor, it can be wise to explore other options. Consider those who are in your business already working internally. Ask your trusted managers who they would consider, invite them into your decision-making process. This ensures that the selection process for your successor and that of your executive team is transparent and aboveboard.
Share The News
If you have found a clear successor or have someone in mind for a leadership role in the company to replace another leader, announce the news as soon as possible. This isn’t something to keep under wraps, let your team know the identity of their new leader as soon as possible after you have made the decision.
Review Your Succession Plan Regularly
Once you have a succession plan in place, don’t let it sit idly by. Instead, review it regularly and ensure that you are still heading in the right direction. If changes are necessary, make them to ensure that your succession plan remains a positive one.
Learn To Let Go
Finally, don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment when it comes to choosing successors. While you might like someone very much personally, if they wouldn’t make a good leader, it doesn’t make sense to make them your or any other person of leadership’s successor.
Contact Us Today
Your business needs to be flexible in order to adapt to the unexpected. However, even when doing this, having a succession plan and strategy in place will always ensure your business is on solid footing. Contact us today to learn more about successful succession planning and why you need to have a plan in place today.