Have a Plan!

Because all great leaders have a plan!!

It goes without saying that succeeding in a leadership role today is much harder than it was a decade ago. When you consider the average person now changes role every 3.3 years, it makes sense that we spend more time interviewing, recruiting and training than we did in the past. And with the younger generations spending an average of only 18 months in a role it?s only going to get busier.

So what can we do to alleviate some of this pressure? Well you could outsource the recruitment functions, although even doing that still requires a lot of input and oversight. You could incentivize staff to stay or penalize them if they go?but your culture is likely to suffer as a result.

What if you were to invest in an effective succession plan? What if, for every new entrant you discussed their next role and got them to start thinking about what they?d do to replace themselves? You?d set the scene that their next role would be within the organization and promote growth and development. And they would, in turn, be prepared to hand over the reins to the next person when the time came. Simple!

But your succession planning needs to start with you, as their leader. You need to prepare for your own departure at some point in the future. If you?re not sure where to start, here are a few steps to help:

  1. Make a list of all your objectives, then number them in order of importance.
  2. Go through the list and write down the name of one person in your team who could be trained to do this activity in your absence.
  3. For the three most important objectives make sure you have more than one person listed.
  4. Speak with these people in your next monthly one-on-one to see if they are interested in learning the activity (if not, replace with someone else).
  5. Set up a time to train/coach them and give them an opportunity to perform it regularly.
  6. Ask them to document the process for that activity and store it somewhere central.
  7. For your three most important objectives you might like to get the first person you train to teach the next person.

These activities have a dual benefit of making your people feel like you?re investing in them and their professional development, it?s a win/win solution.

To implement a good succession plan you need to let go of any fear you may have of ?losing your job?. Establish your identity around what makes you a great leader and not around what makes you a great subject matter expert.

And finally, consider this?your manager is more likely to support and endorse your move to another role if they?re not worried about what will happen when you?re gone.

?A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in? ~ Greek Proverb


Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating dynamic team environments through adaptable leadership.?She is a leadership coach, trainer, facilitator, mentor and speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.

If you?d like to know more about her program ?Creating Dynamic Teams? please drop her an email shelley@shelleyflett.com.

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