The three chapters of a career
There are three chapters in every career, each lasting about 10 to15 years. The first chapter needs a lot of rocket fuel to create meaningful skills and relationships. This stage is preparation to propel you on a surprisingly long journey.
The second chapter includes distinguishing yourself by focusing on what you’re passionate about, excelling at work, and staying consistent. This period is when people become the best at something and differentiate themselves from other people in their career field.
The final chapter is the “passing the torch” chapter of a career or, more officially, the time to discuss succession planning strategies. It can be a beneficial and rewarding chapter of anyone’s career when done effectively. This is the point in time where you nourish the next successor to take the torch (not literally!) and spend a lot of time cultivating.
The entire concept of business succession planning strategies ensures smoother role transitioning for key positions. To do so, the most crucial aspect is to prepare and teach the next in line. The question is, how? Through formal teaching? Mentoring? Lecturing? Or does it start way before that?
Read along with these four tips for succession planning strategy that will help you and your company bring out the best in your most important asset – your people.
Tip 1: Hire A+ players, not merely A players
“If you always hire people who are bigger than you are, you shall become a company of giants.” – David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the “Father of Advertising.”
Let us explore a bit further into this terrific point Ogilvy made. When you’re serious about building a great business, it is crucial that you hire the best people from the start. It is only through hiring the best people that the entire workforce can progress towards the shared vision of the company.
The first tip is to hire competent people, as it’s the only way to build an effective team from the very start. Begin with hiring, nurturing, and growing giants.
Tip 2: Skip surprises and stick to plans
Succession planning shouldn’t come as a surprise. And yes! There are events we consider unpleasant surprises. In fact, recovering from the surprise succession of a key position will take a long time. The company may need to quickly rush into choosing the successor for a critical position to simply keep the operations going. On the other side, the unaware, newly-promoted employee may struggle to do everything in their power to recover from the challenges they are facing.
When succession planning strategy is done in an orderly manner, only then can a company avoid being rocked by abrupt management changes. Establishing a constructive culture is a nurturing habitat for success.
The second tip is to have an adequate plan in place from the very start, so your business can overcome any surprises coming in its way.
Tip 3: Have the courage to abdicate the throne!
“It’s easy to fall in love with the baton of leadership. Whenever this happens, it is almost impossible to let go.” – Marshall Goldsmith, an expert writer on succession in the business world.
The very opportunity that was provided to lead quite often morphs into the temptation to remain beyond effective years. To ensure a successful hand-off, leaders must actively understand their role before and during a succession planning strategy process. It’s never easy to leave something that has been a primary part of your life, but there are many new ways to use your talents outside your position.
The third tip is to make sure you have ‘The Talk’ with current and potential candidates to have a clean exit strategy, so leadership pathways don’t get crossed.
Tip 4: Dig deeper using talent assessment software
A common mistake while hiring is to look only at the accomplishments. While Ted Kaczynski may have once best fit the bill of qualifications necessary, we all now know the story of the Unabomber. Relying on the old ways of hiring may mean you don’t get the employee you need.
Today’s candidates know what to say, when to say it, how to say it, how to cushion anything negative from their past, what to wear, how long to hold your gaze, how to use body language, and how to use inflection in their voice for the perfect pitch.
The fourth tip is to dig deeper into your potential candidate’s abilities and utilize talent assessments that rely on solid data to fuel important decision-making. Talent management software can help define the critical levels where you need succession planning strategies, the criteria for success in those positions (hard skills, soft skills, emotional intelligence, and accomplishments), and the means to assess your talent pool against those findings.
Replace wishful intentions with concrete succession planning strategies
Succession planning is only overwhelming when there is no clarity and alignment between the leadership team and the board. This scenario leads to confusion about what was or was not said. With a talent management platform, leaders can quickly filter for and discover key performers based on several specific skills and attributes to ensure success.
Contact HRForecast to find out how we can help you strategize and customize an operational succession plan.