An organization is only as successful as the leadership that drives it and the workers who provide daily labor. Major changes in the executive talent at an organization can have devastating consequences for the company’s stability.
Someone in a leadership role making an unexpected exit for early retirement or a new job opportunity could damage the company’s operations, and a medical emergency or death could be equally challenging. Other workers may exit because of the change in management, and hiccups during the transition could cost the organization money.
Succession planning involves – among other things – creating training suggestions, qualification criteria and a list of crucial details that only one professional at an organization can speak to with real authority. The goal is to provide guidance to quickly and effectively replace that professional when they can no longer do their job.
Proper planning minimizes the disruptions
If the executive handling all financial transactions at a company has a cardiac emergency that renders them uncommunicative, the organization could suffer massive hardship during their unscheduled leave of absence. The only way to protect against emergencies and sudden exits is through advance planning.
Succession planning can both facilitate a faster transition to new leadership when the time comes and assist those temporarily filling roles by clarifying their responsibilities and the kind of training that may help. The work involved often means that it should be a compensated project. The contracts for managers and executives can include requirements for the initial creation of a succession plan, as well as periodic updates. Ideally, organizations will have everyone in key roles create succession plans to ensure the continuity of business.
Who at a company should engage in succession planning?
Major leadership roles may require succession planning
Obviously, the top executives at a business are crucial to its continued success. Anyone whose role is important enough for their absence to affect the company and challenging enough for others to struggle to fill may require succession planning. Heads of departments and any chief executives should have succession plans in place.
Many organizations include requirements for a written succession plan in their contracts with the top executives and managers at their organizations. A review of leadership roles at a specific company will be necessary to determine exactly who should create a succession plan. By proactively addressing concerns that could affect business operations, succession planning can help an organization protect itself against anticipated losses in talent and unexpected emergencies alike.