Who's going to fill your shoes?

There comes a time in every organisation’s life that the current generation of leaders starts to think about life beyond work. But the question of succession is a thorny topic for many and one that’s often explored rather late in the day.

For owner-managed businesses where the current leader is very much the driving force of the organisation, this requirement can be particularly acute if the business is to successfully transition.

One popular tool for succession planning and identifying future leaders is the ‘Nine-Box Grid.’ This tool ranks current employees in terms of potential and performance. Those sitting in the high performance / high potential segment are those that the organisation should seek to groom for additional responsibilities. In the short-term, this activity will help provide the focus that these key employees are getting the stimulation and reward that will encourage them to stay with your organisation.

If your current team has a natural successor this works fine, but what if there’s no ‘heir apparent’ within the current workforce?

Melius’ strategy lead, Dave Pye, recommends engaging a potential future CEO / Managing Director two to three years before the exit of the current business leader in order to effect a smooth transition without disrupting an organisations growth plans.

“Bringing fresh ideas and perspectives into an organisation in a sensitive manner is critical to success. While candidates will be motivated by the equity opportunity presented by joining an established business, they need to form a strong bond with the exiting leader to avoid disruption.”

To affect a smooth transition, Melius highlight the following five key points:

1.       Sensible, open conversations are a must. There’s no hiding the advance of time.

2.       Harness the expertise of your senior team and galvanise their commitment to the organisation.

3.       Find an effective way for generations to learn from each other

4.       Accept that assumed promotion of family members may not be the best solution

5.       Be flexible and learn to let go

For support in making the right succession plans for your organisation, talk to Dave Pye at Melius for a free informal conversation about making your business fit for the future.