Friday, August 16, 2013

Succession Planning - a Leadership Challenge

We talk so much about succession planning, but never do this or never get around to it. Some say, that gone are the days when we used to be scared to have individuals identified that could be mentored, even given the reins from time to time to groom for succession planning. I say, its well entrenched in the mindset of the Leaders we have today and there is still quite a gap from where we need to be from where we are.

There is also the conundrum of new vs. old blood from a standpoint of internal experience and not a reflection of individual age. Experience within an organization speaks volumes to internal growth, stability & momentum. In some cases, external voices provides balance, perspective and unbiased approach to growth & visioning as you position yourself towards the next horizon. have one simple ask from those recruiting for their next Leader - regardless of where the candidate comes from, include those who this person would lead. Yes, some people believe it is a odd to have future employees decide your fate for recruitment or renewal, but it speaks volumes to your role as a Leader and your Leadership profile. Let them be a voice, in fact be courageous & encourage it.

For those who are currently Leaders, I also have one simple ask of you - motivate & mentor those you lead. Give them a shot, they will surprise you. You have the position and yet they choose to follow you. Give them the reins and see if they are capable of running the show. If they can, you know who you can rely on when you need to take your long deserved siesta in the Mediterranean waters, and if not, if they show promise, groom them. It is a gratifying experience to grow individuals to the next elevation - education exists in all forms and in all places, especially in the workplace. Practicality & applicability of theoretical approaches are only learned in the workforce and teach them, let them have an appreciation of your day and perhaps you may receive multiple benefits in doing so:
  1. Walk in my shoes for a day - You won't need to say that any more. Appreciating each others complexity of roles & requirements is a challenge and this individual(s) can become your ambassador.
  2. Educate, Motivate & Elevate - Put on your educators hat and show them the ropes. Pass on your sage advice, your learnings and let it live through not just this one individual, but the multitudes thereafter that will have a similar experience through a trickle down learning philosophy.
  3. Relax - You may find someone that could help you, perhaps even share some of the burden of some of the larger stressors, perhaps even cover for you while you are taking you well deserved rest.
  4. Good Karma - Yes its important. Getting gratification from just doing a good job at work is not enough; through some variety in there, get some gratification from the appreciation you receive from those that you Lead. It is a phenomenal high.
Succession planning, can be a forced exercise, but for those that follow the Bottom-Up model of Leadership I profess as the key to a successful organization, this will be second nature. Just remember, this is not about replacing you, but if you are concerned about that and it is a valid concern, then perhaps you have other things you need to work on...

Positions can be filled, People can never be replaced. Organizations will continue, the world will not come to an end, you may be forgotten & they could lose your essence. Leave that mark, Grow your Legacy.