Succession planning is one of those business items that no one wants to attack but no business can afford not to. Many owners and managers don’t want to face the fact that they will not always be there to lead the organization. Others are afraid of the inherent confrontation and decisions to be made in the succession planning process. Regardless of the reason, succession planning is too important to your business to leave unaddressed. To help you get started, this week’s tip is four in one: Four Tips for Succession Planning Success.
- Take time to make a plan. This may sound obvious but so many businesses just coast onward in hopes that they will have someone in place when the time comes, or worse they assume the leader in place will always be there. Get out your calendar and make time for succession planning.
- Expect emotions. Whether you’re in a family business or not, you can safely expect to encounter emotions when moving through the succession planning process. If you expect emotions, you can pre-empt them and focus on communicating through them.
- Utilize objective third parties. Because you expect emotions, it’s valuable to have an objective third party as part of the process. He or she can help you think of things in a new, different way and hopefully come to the best conclusions for the company, not just one or two subjective and outspoken individuals.
- Make it ongoing. Don’t just develop a plan and then not touch it until the moment comes to name a successor. Continue to revisit the plan and make adjustments. The plan should be referred to along the way as you select a successor and prepare that person to take your place.
Additional succession planning resources may be found on the International Succession Planning Association (ISPA) website. A representative from ISPA presented at our 2012 Spring Regional in Jacksonville, Florida and shared additional resources just for RCI members. (Members of RCI may access these worksheets and resources as part of past education session links by signing in to the RCI website.)
Has your business been through a succession planning process? If you have additional tips to share from your experiences, leave them in the comments below.
RCI Members: Each 2012 issue of Kettle Talk, our quarterly membership publication, included a series on succession planning. RCI members may view digital copies of the publication by signing in to the RCI website. Then navigate to Member Resources, Publications and click on Kettle Talk.