Succeed with succession by avoiding these errors
Is your organization prepared for a change in leadership? The transition from one manager to another, at any level, can be rocky if you’re caught off guard.
Is your organization prepared for a change in leadership? The transition from one manager to another, at any level, can be rocky if you’re caught off guard. And yet many organizations aren’t prepared when the CEO leaves, or when mid-level managers move on. Here’s why—and what you can do about it:
• Succession is a rare event. Maybe you’re lucky, and management turnover is minimal at your organization. That can mean you don’t get a lot of practice in hiring and developing new leaders. Adopt an “always hiring” mindset, so you can be on the lookout for potential leaders inside your organization and externally.
• The need isn’t obvious. If your CEO and all your managers are young, engaged, and passionate about your company, you may not think you have anything to worry about. But circumstances can change in an instant. On a regular basis, take a look through your workforce and ask who’s ready to step up if a management position suddenly becomes vacant.
• Backward vision. When replacing a manager, companies sometimes attempt to hire a clone of the previous person, assuming that what worked in the past will work in the future. This can create problems as your organization changes. Stay on top of trends in your industry so you know what skills and experience you need for the future.
• Managers choose their own successor. Who better to find a new manager than the person who’s been doing the job? It’s a common tactic, but it can be a mistake: Some managers, consciously or not, will tend to select someone who will make them look good by comparison. Or they may just look for a younger version of themselves, ignoring changes that have taken place in your organization and industry. Involve other managers in the process to avoid problems.
—Adapted from Bloomberg BusinessWeek
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