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Steps to effective business succession planning

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Business Succession |

Effective business succession planning is important for the longevity of a company. It involves a structured process to identify and prepare the right individuals to take over key roles when the time comes.

While some owners have dreams of passing their family business to their descendants, this is not always the best idea. A well-constructed succession plan will position the company for long-term prosperity.

Assess the current talent

The first step in succession planning is to take a close look at the current workforce. Identify individuals with the potential to step into future leadership roles. Look for employees with leadership qualities, strong work ethics and a commitment to the company’s values.

Define key roles and responsibilities

Clearly define the key organizational roles. These could include executive positions, department heads or other critical positions. Outline all necessary responsibilities and skills to provide a clear roadmap for succession candidates.

Identify potential successors

Pinpoint potential successors for each key role. 90% of family businesses fail before reaching the third generation. This high percentage is mostly due to unexpected executive death or the passing of the business to an ill-prepared family member. A best practice is to choose a successor from the existing talent pool. Be sure to consider a diverse range of candidates to promote inclusivity.

Develop and train successors

After identifying potential successors, invest in their development and training. Provide them with opportunities for growth, mentorship and skill-building. Encourage them to participate in leadership development programs and gain exposure to higher-level responsibilities.

Create a succession timeline

Establish a clear timeline for the transition of key roles. Determine when the current incumbents are likely to retire or step down, and align this with the readiness of potential successors. Having a well-defined timeline ensures a smooth and orderly transition.

Regularly review and update the plan

Succession planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time task . Regularly review and update the succession plan to reflect changes in organizational needs, the workforce and market conditions. Keep a close eye on the progress of potential successors and make needed adjustments.

Communication and feedback

Effective communication is important to the succession planning process. Keep employees informed about the plan’s objectives. Encourage open and honest feedback from current leaders and potential successors. Use this feedback to make necessary changes.

Monitor performance

Track the performance of potential successors over time. Assess whether they are meeting the development goals. Conduct periodic evaluations of required skills and leadership qualities. This evaluation process helps ensure that your chosen successors are well-prepared.


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