Business succession planning includes a lot of different factors worth thinking about for the future. If you need help with this, here’s a guide to read as a start.
People are naturally hierarchical, and we thrive in groups led by great leaders. Leaders who know how to mediate problems, engage with their people, find amicable solutions, resolve, and avoid conflict, and perform admirably under stressful situations.
Leaders who recognize opportunities and know how to make the best from the worst. It is crises such as those that shaped the world this year, from political upheaval to record-breaking hurricanes and a devastating pandemic, that help us identify and shape leaders.
But there is more to finding and turning top talent into the executive branch of tomorrow. We need not only to recognize, but also to develop and grow tomorrow’s leaders.
This is where business succession planning becomes crucially important – and it’s why this new post-pandemic working world is a crucially important hotbed for identifying the people we need to invest the most into as the economy begins to recover.
What is Business Succession Planning?
People live an average of anywhere from 70 to 80 years, depending on individual factors. But companies, organizations, and ideas can live, thrive, and grow for centuries.
If you want your business to survive, you need to choose the right person to bring it into the next century, as countless other industry leaders have before you.
The Small Business Administration notes that approximately 70 percent of all privately owned businesses will change leadership in the next 10 to 15 years. This is a process that requires long-term planning, rather than a simple exchange of hands, or just another sale made at the end of the day – especially if you care about the long-term growth of your business, and its viability in the long run.
This is what the essence of business succession planning entails. More than just placing a friend or family member into the leadership position when it’s time for you to retire, business succession entails identifying, cultivating, and training your top talent to replace you when the time comes for your company to move in a new direction.
How Has Business Succession Changed in 2021?
Why is business succession planning relevant now, of all times? Because in the eyes of most businesses, it has never been less relevant.
With rising costs, extreme unemployment levels in 2020 and earlier this year, and ongoing concerns due to the dire state that the global economy was in at the peak of the COVID pandemic, grooming top talents to take over the business in ten or twenty years was far less important than making sure there’s a business to lead when that time does come.
Yet at the same time, it is precisely at this point where an individual’s potential and ability to lead must shine the brightest, and it is precisely at this point that you should take care to observe and identify whom among your current lineup steps up to do their best for the survival and growth of the business.
Rethinking the Importance of Business Succession in Your Organization This Year
As we continue to move forward and out of a global crisis, let us look towards the potential that tomorrow brings – and let us focus on those willing to draw out that potential.
Identifying key talents in your organization to mentor and build up over time requires that you identify what people played the greatest role in keeping the business alive over the last few months – and how each of your coworkers demonstrated different qualities of leadership as the weeks and months dragged on.
It’s not just about choosing the most efficient worker, or the person who put in the most hours.
Identify what leadership means to you, or more accurately, what qualities you have come to rely on the most in your position as a leader. How do your best people reflect these qualities in their own day-to-day, and how did they perform under pressure with regards to their duties, and the organization’s health as a whole?
COVID has been nothing short of a disaster for millions of people. It has also strained departments, leaders, companies, teams, and organizations all around the world. It has also acted as a filter, to show who in the company took on the work of others, got involved in special projects, and effectively managed their stress while remaining productive under the strangest and most complicated of circumstances.
The ability to take these tasks on – because it’s what must be done – demonstrates key leadership capabilities and helps us identify who to promote and build up in the coming years.
Investing in the Future, Planning for Tomorrow
Once you have begun to identify the people who have outpaced the rest of the company during a time of crisis, you can begin to capitalize on their natural talent with directed growth and training. Approach them about taking on greater responsibilities within the organization. Offer benefits to ensure that they decide to commit to the company. Ask them where they feel their future will take them, and whether they’re likely to continue to be active in their field and industry.
A top priority talent who is looking to switch fields or pursue a different dream would be a failed investment, years down the line.
But one who is considering a long-term approach in their industry and is interested in continuing their career path as a professional in the line of work they’re currently enjoying, may be enticed to stay so long as their growth is continuously enabled, and so long as it’s clear to them that this company is the best place for them to stay.
This means that your role as a leader isn’t just finding and grooming new leadership but managing the business and its culture in such a way that the people you work with feel they’re in the best place they can be.
The Role the Workplace Plays in Creating Leaders
Company culture is an important reflection of a business’ mission, vision, and real-life track record – and it is reflected in no place better than the workplace itself.
Yet the question of what constitutes a workplace, and how that definition might continue to change in response to the COVID pandemic, is still an open one.
If you are utilizing a hybrid work model, or a primarily remote model, think about how you can leverage tools such as better telecommunications and coworking spaces to enhance company cohesion and help your workers feel appreciated and welcomed in their workplace.