Who Will Follow You? The Importance of Succession Planning

5586035-hands-passing-the-baton-business-and-sports-themeMost of us are so busy with the day-to-day operation of our organization, that we give very little thought to what will happen when we leave.  This is a major question that needs to be addressed, and most of us wait too long before we try to answer the question.

Jack Welch became the CEO of General Electric in 1981, and served in that position until he retired in 2000.  In 1991, Jack Welch stated: “From now on, choosing my successor is the most important decision I’ll make.  It occupies a considerable amount of thought almost every day.”  This is a pretty strong statement for someone who had the vision and leadership ability to increase the value of General Electric from $13 billion to $410 billion dollars during his tenure.

Tom Bartridge shares that “the succession planning process needs to be considered as a part of the company’s strategic planning process because it deals with projecting future changes by anticipating management vacancies and then determining how to meet these challenges.”

For each of us, we don’t think about this because we don’t know where to start.

If you are the principal leader in your organization, ask yourself these questions:

• What would happen to the organization today if I could no longer lead?  Who is ready to step up?

• Is there someone in the organization that understands the vision and mission clearly?

• Is there someone in the organization that I trust to take my role?

If you had a hard time answering these questions, start now!

As leaders, we need to be growing leaders by teaching them, modeling for them, coaching them, and giving them the opportunity to lead.

Don’t wait too long to give space to others to lead!

Think about the future.  Think about the “passion and mission” of your organization.  What will happen when you are not able to lead it anymore?  Who can carry that baton and help the organization succeed into the future?

Start working on the answers to these questions today!

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