Ask the Coach: I’m not planning on leaving my current position for a while, however, I’m wondering when is the best time to do succession planning?

July 27th, 2018

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in a position or what your plans are, succession planning has many advantages, and few if any disadvantages. Here are some things to consider:

– Succession planning is a MUST to keep your business competitive, stable and ready to manage upcoming events, planned or not. None of us can accurately predict the future but having a plan as to who would succeed you if you left soon or unexpectedly, and who would replace you longer-term is key to keeping your business running smoothly.
– It’s also a great way to develop your employees, keep them engaged and understand their needs and desire for the future. It also helps facilitate feedback and conversation about their strengths, development needs and what resources or support they can find to bridge the gaps.
– Succession planning is not just for the top executive positions. Great companies plan for all important positions whether they are entry level, mid or senior positions.

Here are a few tips on how to get the process moving:

– Start small. The planning process can be overwhelming but doesn’t have to be. Assemble a team, begin the conversations and make succession planning part of your management and feedback process.
– Engage others in the process. This doesn’t and shouldn’t be a top down activity. Engage people on your team to have open conversations about their desires, strengths, opportunities and gaps.
– Remember that this is an ongoing process. You aren’t necessarily ‘done’ when you have a plan in place. Your needs and competencies may shift, plans may change, or individuals may change their priorities or desires.
– Plan with your vision and strategy in mind. This gives you an idea to look at what your needs are now, and how those needs might change or shift in the future to meet the business and customer needs.

One of my best client relationships was with an executive of a large international company. This executive joined the organization, and one of the first things she did was begin succession planning discussions with her team. Many of them at first thought it seemed odd, however, the result was that they knew where they stood, what their career path might look like, where their gaps were and how to bridge them. They felt included and engaged in their careers and development.

So, begin now to think about your succession. It’s never too early.

For more career, sales, and leadership advice please contact our coaches
Joe Micallef – Sales Coach – email, or call (773) 329 0066
Donna Flynn – Career/Management Coach – email, or call (630) 624-4319