In today’s final post on succession planning, we are looking at two more keys to implementing this well so as to guard against problems that so often derail a changeover that, despite its necessity, sees organisations revert back to old leadership or old practices. This is usually done without differentiating these from the old values and policies that should be maintained whilst also adopting some new approaches. Of course, the passage of time does not guarantee that changes are always right ones, but foresight is sharpened when succession planning is planned and conducted well.
5. The new leader is not the old leader. This may sound obvious, but the new leader needs to be able to be the best version of himself and not an inferior version of the person he is replacing. Valuing what is in the head and heart of the person coming in to a leadership role is crucial to the transition working. The departing leader can’t hold on to power or disparage the new broom!
6. Be clear on terms of departure. This means not only knowing what the current leader will and won’t do afterwards, but how he will or won’t be honoured. Finance, gifts, public recognition and other forms of recognition beyond any salary owed will communicate appreciation (or a lack thereof) to the leader and to the people he has led for an extended period. This needs to be discussed, even if it is genuinely felt that the departing leader is owed nothing.
Finally, since a transition needs to involve a departing and an incoming leader, they both have a responsibility to make the change work. The board or any other relevant leadership team also have a role and any change, whether good or bad, must reflect on that group too.