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The 3 Pillars Of Succession Planning: Part 1

Succession Of The Founder/CEO

Succession Planning is the process of planning for a leader or key employee who may one day leave the organization. There are 3 categories or pillars of succession. These include:

  • Succession of the Company Founder/CEO

  • Succession of Senior Management

  • Succession of Key Talent

While many leaders look at leadership succession, in the current hiring environment it is also important to look at all 3 pillars.

Founders and CEOs have several options for succession. Some reasons they may consider stepping back from their leadership role include:

  • Burnout

  • Too involved in the day-to-day operations

  • Inability to do the things they really enjoy

  • Desire to have more personal time

Their options include retirement, selling the business, quitting or putting together a plan for their continued involvement that allows he or she to redefine their role.

Leaders who choose this option get to choose their role and responsibilities while pulling back from the operations side of their business.

An important part of successfully implementing a plan like this is to bring in a strong #2. This position is often titled, Chief of Staff or Operations, IntegratorTM, General Manager and others. Some leaders change their role to Chairman and name their 2nd in command President.

There are excellent examples of successful leaders who had a strong #2. Warren Buffet had Charlie Munger, Marc Zuckerberg had Sheryl Sandberg, and Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak to name a few.

  1. Developing a successful plan for Leadership Succession includes the following steps: Defining the #1’s job going forward.

  2. Moving everything else to the new #2 and developing a Scorecard to gauge their success for both the #2 and #1.

  3. Planning an onboarding process for the new #2.

  4. Have ongoing coaching for both to ensure a successful transition of leadership.

Coming next week: Succession Of Senior Management.


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