Leadership is the #1 priority of business. Having a succession plan for all key positions in the company is the aim of every CEO or business owner.
• It gives you peace-of-mind that there’s someone who is capable of taking your place and steering the business in the right direction when you retire, or go on holidays.
• It relieves your stress by knowing that you can trust someone to do as much critical thinking about the business as you do.
• It gives you the chance to think about yourself and your future, post business.
Who are the leaders in your organisation or business who can take your place and those of other key executives when the need arises?
There’s no doubt that the identification and nurturing of talent is a critical business function which can’t be relegated to others in more junior positions.
• Where is the talent in your organisation?
• How are you nurturing that talent?
• What can be done to ensure that those talented individuals don’t take their skills and knowledge elsewhere?
These are all good questions that shouldn’t keep you awake at night. And yet, in many business situations, they do. Being able to recruit from within is often a much better and less expensive option than recruiting from the external market. However in times requiring change, going to the external market is the most appropriate strategy.
For example, if you are a business owner who is comfortable with your success, then all you need as a successor is a ‘caretaker’ to continue the good work. However if you are a business owner who likes to ‘lead from the front’, always ahead of the rest, then someone with new ideas who will ‘shake things up’ would be a better choice for your replacement. Or if there is a need to change the culture of the organisation, then a fresh approach from someone not already involved in the business is the best way to re-invent the organisation.
As a coach, you can assist business owners make all these decisions. Your role is to ‘tease out’ the requirements of the role given the emerging internal and external circumstances, and help the business owner decide on the best strategy to take the business forward. Then you’ll know what kind of successor the business needs. If the strategy is one of cost-reduction, then someone with a close eye on finances is what is required. If the strategy is about market differentiation or innovation, then a fresh new approach from someone in the external market is what the business needs. However your role doesn’t stop there!
As a coach, you may also be involved in transitioning the successor into the new position. Transitions will take as long as they do, with the first three – six months being the most stressful. Holding the hand of the new appointee and guiding their first steps is something that coaches do – and do well! A less stressed successor becomes much more productive, more quickly, and will makes significant contributions from previous experience more confidently in a trusting and supportive environment.
If coaching is a role that you aspire to, and think that you will be good at, call us for a confidential discussion about your future in what is a very rewarding profession.