Strategic planning for any business needs to include making provision for the company’s future success and longevity, long after the current key role players have left. But to ensure that there is enough talent with the right capabilities to fulfill business leadership positions when they become available and allow for as smooth a transition as possible, careful succession planning is required.
Identifying and developing internal employees to fulfill key roles within the company is a strategic imperative if you want to ensure that your company fully lives up to its mission statement.
Planning for future challenges
Investing in a succession plan is vital as these individuals will be the next generation of leaders who will one day be responsible for the continuity of the company. Not investing in the development of your future executives will only mean that they will not have the necessary competencies to take the business through future challenges.
Recruiting top level managers externally is always an option. However, this will hinder the stability of the business and negatively affect the sense of direction that the company is moving towards, creating uncertainty in all levels.
On the other hand, a clearly defined and well-communicated succession plan allows employees to know that there is opportunity for career growth internally. Aligning their career development with the hierarchy of the business not only creates a motivated workforce, but also creates a highly skilled and capable group of employees.
Although it is imperative to integrate your succession plan with the overall strategic direction of the company, it is also vital to ensure that the procedures and processes focus on the development of individuals. The plan of which employees will fill which higher level positions is less important than developing the right skills, experience and knowledge in these employees so that they have the ability to take on the job when the time arises.
Part of this strategic development includes forecasting the skills your business will require in the years to come and developing these skills within your current workforce. This will result in your business reducing its reactive approach to filling positions, putting you ahead of your competitors.
That said, succession planning is about more than just equipping the next generation with the aptitude for the job, it also needs to focus on the original vision. Companies are created because their founders believe in a cause and it is this vision that shapes and directs the growth of the business. If the future leaders do not embody this vision, the company risks losing sight of its original goal once the founders are no longer at the helm.
Making provisions for both the planned and unplanned loses of key leaders within a business allows for continuity in directorship and can allow companies to undergo this transition with as little disruption to performance as possible. A well-executed succession plan needs form part of a business’ strategic direction in order to ensure longevity and plan for future success.
About the author: Kay Vittee is the CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions (Pty) Ltd one of South Africa’s leading staffing solutions provider. She’s a business woman holding a Masters in Business Administration, a B.Com (Banking and Economics) and various other financial and marketing qualifications. Kay’s business acumen and success have made her a sought after speaker and thought leader.