Succession planning: Don't get caught without a plan

Q. Is succession planning important for every organization?
 - 
Friday, February 22, 2019

Yes, succession planning is essential for every organization regardless of size because it demonstrates planning ahead and developing strategies, programs and people for the future and for inevitabilities. You do not want to be caught without a key player or a plan in the event something happens to your staff or your business. Further, relying on one key player to run the operation is simply a risky proposition.

Prepare for sudden loss

In working with an HME provider recently, the chief executive tragically and suddenly died. This left the company with the arduous and emotionally challenging task of picking up the pieces, including finding a replacement CEO. The good news is that the business had spent the last year planning and developing for succession. Fortunately, there are enough core employees in the interim to continue operating the company. The next step is to determine if one of those core employees can step into the former CEO’s role. It is truly a case in point for why you want to plan ahead, regardless of your size.

Identify and develop key staff

For a small company (10-15 full time employees), it would entail cross-training all staff and developing key staff members’ skills to understand the ins and outs of running the company. This might include working together to budget and plan for the ensuing year’s projections. It also means having the company leader(s) identify the strong employees with the most growth potential for when a key role needs to be filled.

Prioritize accountability

For any company, a succession process includes establishing and implementing a plan that documents the entire operational flow and best practices. This clearly informs the need to have goals and metrics against which staff is measured. Holding employees accountable is the key to the beginning of a succession process but also provides operational efficiencies that improve the bottom line.