Succession Planning is critical for an organisation’s longevity and survival. Having said this there are still many organisations who don’t formally plan for succession. The reasons for this lack of planning could be various yet most involve not appreciating the pitfalls of just not doing it. Three main pitfalls are:
1. Profitability hits
When a leader leaves and there is no immediate, obvious and trained replacement, the team
gets a hit in motivation and direction that results in a productivity decrease and a resulting
hit to the bottom line. The foregone investment in succession planning suddenly seems small in comparison to such a hit on the bottom line.
2. Staff losses
Staff tend to lead managers and not companies. The lack of a leadership for a period in a team tends to have a high impact on the retention of staff. Staff mobility is normal and, whatever the measures taken, there will always be leaders who leave. Succession planning is there to ensure a degree of continuity and stability in such an instance. The lack of an obvious next leader tends to create instability in team members’ minds resulting in some taking the plunge and leaving the organisation.
3. Lower levels of initiative
When we work on a succession planning programme, as a consequence we are working on a leadership enhancing and a personal growth programme for new leaders. This focus on growth also ensures that upcoming leaders have the space to voice their ideas and views in order to start using their leadership in small ways in conjunction with the existing leaders. This results in strong displays of initiative coming from upcoming leaders and resulting in more gains for the organisation as a whole.