Successfully achieve transition with these ideas.

None of us like to think about being replaced.  It is tough on our egos.  But the truth is we will all be replaced at some point for a variety of reasons.  Yet, businesses and corporations go on.  So why do we struggle to bring a new person into our organization, deal with promotions or address new relationships.

Simple really, in most cases we failed to set this person up for success by sharing the knowledge behind our actions and values.  This is especially a challenge in succession because it receives added scrutiny.

Let’s take a look at what a sound succession plan looks like and then we will see where the likely flaws have occurred in our experiences.

Step 1 – Defining the skillset.

Most often we do not define the actual skillset needed including addressing weaknesses of the current individual.

Step 2– Identifying the traits that are critical.

It is hard sometimes to consider things like humility or kindness to be part of a job description.  Fact is they can be more critical than skills in many roles.

Step 3– Education in the HOW and most importantly sharing the WHY (Simon Sinek).

This is the holy grail for most companies; the secret sauce.  Often it has been perfected over time, nurtured and cherished.  But if you do not know it or understand it, people will notice.

Step 4–  Share the Vision and encourage engagement in the plan.

Most people really do not want to be the boss.  Open discussions with employees on what is happening and why, allows for you to get good feedback and insights that might not come across your desk.

The biggest mistake I see made is what I call the alcoholics response, “we lie to ourselves that the issues we see are minor, all 10 of them”.

One way to avoid this is to develop a simple system to keep score.  Let’s assume that you have identified a candidate to step up and take over as general manager.  You have a training plan and have started discussions of philosophies, values etc.  I suggest you create a 10 question review form and complete it at a high frequency bi-weekly or monthly.  Include a comment section for narratives on both good and bad incidents.  After you have 5 or so complete, review them all in a single sitting.  Look for trends, 3rd rail issues, culture impacts, etc.  Remember when you are looking at this it’s not a snapshot but the last 2½ to 5 months, likely the leopard’s spots.

Additionally, this approach opens the possibility to have several constructive conversations with the employee about progress or concerns.

One final caution on succession, be careful to not overly judge method over results.  People are not going to do things YOUR way, but they can get the job done.  And at the end of the day, RESULTS MATTER!

For more information or help on developing a sound succession plan, contact us, SPC Consulting.