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High Performing Companies Do Succession Planning, Do You?

By Burk Moreland April 22, 2015

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We continue the series, 7 Easy Ways to Kill Your Business…this week we’ll talk about succession planning.

The CEO walks into a manager’s office and tells the manager things at the company are getting interesting. The CEO asks the manager if he would be willing to give up his job. The answer was a resounding ‘[email protected]! No!’ 

Why would I do that? I am good at my job! I have worked way too hard to get all the knowledge I need to start over! I am the best darn manager you have! You will never be able to replace me! You’re going to have to rip it from my cold dead hands! The CEO stands up and says ‘OK, I will offer the promotion to Sue…’ 

Great reaction, right? After all, real success is making yourself so valuable in a particular position that no one else can do it. Sharing knowledge or training someone to secede you keeps you right where you are! The happiest people are the ones with there hands firmly clenched on their desk, right? 

If you are in charge, remember, developing a succession plan is suicide. Make sure only one person knows how to do each job so that there is no crossover. Why waste time allowing others to be able to cover? No one ever takes vacations, sick days or leaves a company these days! People are happy to stay in the same position day after day until they reach 65. Change is not the norm. 

I can’t even type this anymore…If you believe any of the above, please stop reading and go back to business as usual. Hope and pray that everything will be ok. Tell yourself that planning for all of these things is a waste of time. And while you’re at it, update your resume and check your savings account balance. You will need both sooner than later. 

High performing organizations and people realize that the only constant is change. You better be ready for it or it will mow you over in an instant. You should be conducting cross training programs and succession plans where candidates are identified and groomed before the need arises vs after. In addition, be thinking through all possible scenarios of growth where teams will have to grow and responsibilities will change. 

Stop working in your business and work on it… Ever heard that? If it is your responsibility to lead, it is your responsibility to look forward at what could happen and make sure everyone is prepared. 

This is not an easy thing to do by yourself. “It is hard to see the picture when you are in the frame” as Paul Martinelli says. If growth is in you and your company’s future, you have got to do something about this and soon. 

Every successful person I know has a business coach or accountability partner. What are you waiting for? Let’s talk.

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