By Cindy Barber
We all want our companies to be successful but are we prioritizing a "Success Plan"? It hit me the other day as I was working on a piece of a succession plan for a client that right there, in that word, was the word success. That was particularly interesting to me because, more and more, at The Dash Group, we have shifted talking about succession planning to succession/expansion planning. To be honest, we have seen just as many companies come to a screeching halt running out of bench strength to sustain growth as they do with a vacated leadership or business critical position without a ready successor.
Maybe, from now on I'll just call it a "Success Plan" because that is what it is and you either have a solid plan, or you don't. It is frightening how many companies don't. I don't believe there is a CEO out there that doesn't know they need a "Success Plan." We hear that the thought of losing a leader, or an engineer that keeps the lights in the plant on, stand out among the things that keep most CEOs up at night. However, week after week month after month and, in many cases, year after year goes by, and the best plan they have is hope. Maybe even a vague idea of who might be able to stand in short-term but usually that person comes to mind for their longevity and experience which usually translates into "about to retire".
I believe there are two reasons leaders don't take the time to make "Success Plans" a priority. One is because they aren't sure how to do it well. The second is because they are focused on sales growth and expansion. So, let's go there for a moment. How much more costly is it to bring in people in to oversee that new division, department or new customer's needs than being able to use the talent you have? The person who has been trained for the technical competencies needed, embodies the values of the company and is well ingrained in the company culture? Likely, that high-potential internal candidate has earned trust, has demonstrated loyalty and is committed to achieving the vision of the company. Yes, in some ways the company may take a step forward, but are you paying enough attention to the step back to hire externally? The cost to find the right candidate, onboard them and spend enough time getting them up to speed? And that is if you hire the right candidate, but that is an article for another day.
How are you planning to make your company vision a reality? Are you actively preparing for success? A well thought out, executable, "Success Plan" may be the most important step you take this year in removing the limits to your success.