The Boardroom Beat #28 - Three Reasons You Need a Succession Plan. NOW.


It is a fallacy that succession planning is exclusively for retiring CEO’s, business owners, and senior leaders wary of being hit by the proverbial bus. In fact, succession planning at all levels of the organization fosters a vibrant talent pipeline and propagates a growth culture.

Succession Planning;
1.    Encourages talent development,
2.    Expands strategic leadership,
3.    Enables upward career mobility.




Do you want to be a truly exceptional leader? Do you want to create a legacy of impact? Do this one thing; Develop other leaders.

Countless times a coaching ‘ah ha’  I hear from clients is this; “I am coaching my team in the same way you are coaching me.” This is cause for pause and celebration. Employing coaching modalities with their directs, leaders unleash more  a) ownership of success b) resourceful problem solving c) comfort with ambiguity and risk d) initiative to perform beyond prescribed tasks e) inclination to ripple this on to next layer of staff.

This accomplishes more than accelerated capability development. It impacts the culture of the organization. Many companies include “growth” as a core value. Succession planning put that value into action.




Up-leveling the skills of direct reports does not make a leader redundant. Instead the savvy leader benefits from two positive outcomes. 

First, more bandwidth for operating for in their own role more strategically. There is bandwidth anew for planning, training, value creation and team morale. I have yet to be engaged to equip a leader for better fire fighting; the target is less fire fighting. 

Second, the bandwidth bonus gets personal. I have supported leaders who return from time out of office refreshed and exhilarated by the experience of being truly off the grid for the first time in decades. Not only are they uplifted by new mind space and creativity, but a return to smoothly running operations is an affirming testimonial to a robust leadership pipeline.




A team set up for this kind of success signals a leader set up for career progression. In the big picture of organizational design, being able to backfill a role with little/no disruption is a critical decision factor.  In countless instances a CEO/President has emphasized one single goal for coaching one of their leaders. It has nothing to do with developing skills to ensure promotability. The promotion is deserved and on deck; The push is to ensure role readiness for their next in line. 




The “Why” behind succession planning extends beyond old definitions with bus accident preparation playing a minuscule role. The  updated approach to succession planning provides competitive differentiation via talent, strategy, and career mobility.



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