Leadership in Succession

Leadership in Succession

Do you ever have time to consider your leadership future with the pace of change, the increased speed of business and technology impacts? It is important that you consider how you might fit into future leadership succession plans in your business, or how you might set up plans for others! The workforce is ageing, people are retiring, so how are skills going to be transferred to younger leaders? The success rate of succession planning in organisations is very low and the time to act is now! Consider your current situation and how you can plan for, or assist with future succession planning.

A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession– John C. Maxwell

Research on Australia’s leadership and management

The SAL Report “Do Australian Leaders Have what it takes” shows that Australian organisations should be concerned about the state of leadership and management capability. The findings reveal a pattern of mediocre leadership in many organisations that will likely impair their capacity to shift to a knowledge economy and impede their efforts to raise productivity. Gaps and weaknesses stand out as areas of concern, painting a worrying picture of the ability of Australian organisations to address future challenges.

In particular, the SAL Report refers to “Future Challenges with Succession Planning”. The ageing workforce implies a host of potential issues: replacing large numbers of personnel who retire within a short period of time, transferring knowledge and skills from older to younger workers and training younger workers quickly. The skills shortages extend to the ageing cohort of senior and workplace leaders, especially for small, privately-held organisations. ‘When I want to retire, who will look after the place? Promotions for staff, getting them ready to take over.’

I plan to retire, finding the right person that we want…’ ‘…the development of suitable leadership and management to continue to run our business.’ ‘Succession – we have a lot of senior people who will reach retirement age so recruiting and developing the right people to take us forward after that happens.’ ‘Leadership succession – I’m the founder and CEO for the last 26 years and sooner or later I’m going to retire, so I think it’s important that the board works to create a new leader.’

Only 14% Success Rate with Succession Planning!

Deloitte Insights refers to “The holy grail of effective leadership succession planning” and how to overcome the succession planning paradox. While organizations realize that succession planning is an important priority, few manage to orchestrate it well. The solution may lie in an approach that better melds data-driven and people-centric elements of the process. MOST organizations came to realize years ago that current and future success is heavily based on having the right leaders in the right roles at the right time.

And yet few of these same companies have found ways to be proactive and disciplined about orchestrating succession planning processes that yield results. Possibly most puzzling is how the field of succession planning has, on the whole, stubbornly resisted change despite impressive advancements in the broader world of talent management. Research at Deloitte shows real market frustration with succession planning efforts:

While 86 percent of leaders believe leadership succession planning is an “urgent” or “important” priority, only 14 percent believe they do it well. This gap between intent and reality inspired us to design a year-long research study to identify the reasons behind this seemingly baffling paradox.

Retaining Leadership Talent

Jo Moore in HR Daily advisor referred to “The Critical Importance of Succession Planning,” showing that there are lots of older workers (aging quickly), lots of younger ones, and fewer people in the middle. That’s a legitimate managerial challenge. There are fast-paced changes in work that lead to skill shortages and complaints from managers that they have no one ready to fill vacancies. When a key position is left unfilled for any length of time, important decisions cannot be reached and critical activities are delayed. 

Often it is difficult to meet or exceed customer expectations, to confront competition successfully, or to follow through on efforts of crucial long-term significance. There are also other general challenges – reduced loyalty among employees, increased turnover of identified successors and high performers, increased attrition in executive level positions, and a shortfall in the number of future leaders.

Retaining leadership talent is both a strategic and economic necessity. You cannot implement your strategy without the right leadership. Because of these issues, there is a heightened sense of urgency about succession planning. No matter how certain your future appears, now is the time to begin taking measures to close the gaps we face over the coming years. A succession plan can help organizations drive competitive strategy, reinforce values, and successfully secure their future. To focus your succession effort:

  • Have a clear vision of where the business is going 
  • Create a leadership pool 
  • Make your time investment in succession planning worthwhile 
  • Provide real development for real people 

Lessons from Remote Working for future Management

My blog “What to do if your manager can’t lead remotely” indicated that we have all worked with bad managers and when we work with a great manager – we notice the different don’t we! This is why during this time it is imperative to learn the skills and tools around self-leadership and leading upwards and this can form part of your future succession planning approach. As a part of your plan to progress with management and to lead upwards, remember leadership isn’t a role or title it’s an attitude, mindset and action. Use the following tips as a guide:

  • Start with self
  • Get to know your manager
  • Set regular or weekly one on one catch ups
  • Be proactive
  • Put yourself in their shoes
  • Be the change you want to see
  • Invest in your own self development
  • Have the conversation
  • Focus on our circle of control and influence
  • Use this time as a learning experience

You can always learn just as much from a bad manager than a great one. You will start to learn what not to do and this could be a powerful learning experience. The ability to lead upwards is definitely a skill and an important one of that.

Start with a Leadership Essentials Foundation

LeadershipHQ are excited to be working with Veriskills where our Leadership Essentials Program where you are awarded for Collaboration outcomes. The Leadership Essentials Program is either a self-paced (not Veriskills) or a group and one on one leadership program which takes 6-9 months and gives participants the human capabilities, tools, skills and resources to be the best person and leader they can be. The Human Capability outcomes you will be awarded on completion of our Leadership Essentials program are as follows:

  • Initiative and Drive (Level 3)
  • Communication (Level 3)
  • Collaboration (Level 3)
  • Empathy (Level 3)

Click here to learn more about Veriskills™, and the Human Capability Framework.

This program and coaching will take your leadership skills to the next level!

Leadership isn’t easy and sometimes we need help. I am always here.

Also grab my latest book FIRST COMES COURAGE!

Get in touch today to learn more about building a leadership skills and set yourself up for success!

Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.

Sonia x

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