Succession planning: What’s in it for you?

It’s not unusual for leaders to be so busy overseeing the day-to-day that long-term planning gets short shrift. Then too, long-term planning requires a type of discipline and forward thinking that not every organization can harness—even when it wants to. But there are many good reasons to engage in succession planning, even if your organization is small or medium sized. (In fact, especially if your organization is small or medium sized.) And while succession planning requires commitment, forethought, and a willingness to allocate resources away from current-day activities, the sacrifice is well worth it.

Here’s why:

Succession planning ensures a talent pipeline

The purpose of succession planning is to make sure that personnel are in place to assume the roles and responsibilities of the future, and that means some training has to happen in the present. Luckily for you, training is a gift that keeps on giving. Even if the employee you’ve targeted and educated for a future role ends up working elsewhere at some point, the training he received before the move can be used to enhance organizational operations as long as the employee is with your company.

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Succession planning builds engagement

Whether you’re part of the planning committee or an employee being groomed for a more responsible position in the future, knowing that you’re part of where the company is headed keeps an employee on target, engaged, and excited about things to come.

Succession planning reveals the weak links

Succession planning requires leaders to take a bird’s eye view of the organization and all its functions, current and future. It also requires leaders to take stock of company talent, so that it can be matched to future need. And when this happens, the talent gaps in your organization will be exposed—as will any gaps in technology, processes, and procedures—and that’s a very good thing.

Succession planning builds camaraderie

The process of working on a common goal that’s been identified as important to the company’s long-term future can infuse energy into departmental and inter-departmental relationships as colleagues gain a fresh opportunity to appreciate each other’s abilities while meeting this new work challenge.

Succession planning forces a company to think strategically and document the evidence

Far too many small to medium-size companies pooh pooh strategic planning as unnecessary. However, a strategic plan—which acts a “road map” to significant company goals—is beneficial for any sized organization, and succession planning provides an opportunity for executives to experience those benefits firsthand.

In short, every organization should spend some time thinking about how future goals will be met by future talent, and that’s what succession planning is all about.

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