6 Common Succession Planning Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

TechTarget defines corporate succession planning as “the process of developing talent to replace executive, leadership or other key employees when they transition to another role, leave the company, are fired, retire or die.” Done properly, succession planning ensures that a new generation of key employees is ready to take the reins as the old guard drops off.

Initiating succession planning

Most members of the old guard understand the importance of succession planning. Unfortunately, understanding alone isn’t sufficient to guarantee a successful transition. Too often, succession planning is done too late, incompletely, or not at all.

Other succession planning pitfalls abound. These are six of the most common. If you’re thinking seriously about stepping back from your leadership role anytime soon, you’ll want to know how to avoid them.

1. Waiting Too Long to Begin the Succession Planning Process

Studies consistently show that business leaders underestimate the time needed to devise and implement a thorough succession plan. This is not something you can do in your last six months on the job — six years is closer to the truth, and even that might not be enough. Better to have your succession plan in place before you’re ready to retire than to scramble to complete it or leave key aspects unfinished.

2. Trying to Do It All Yourself

You delegate so much else. Why would you try to take on the Herculean succession planning task entirely on your own? Tapping a seasoned financial services firm Asiaciti Trust to address aspects of your succession plan ensures that your plan will unfold as you envision, not as circumstances dictate.

3. Failing to Put the Right Stakeholders in the Right Positions

Identifying an ideal replacement for each key employee is a crucial aspect of succession planning, and one of the most time-consuming. Often, decision-makers simply throw up their hands and adopt a “good enough” mindset, slotting mediocre employees into roles for which they’re not fully qualified.

Avoid this mindset at all costs. The future of your organization may depend on it.

Business rivalry

4. Creating a Team of Rivals, Rather Than a Team of Cooperators

Those familiar with the popular American television series, Succession, know full well the destructive potential of an overly competitive succession planning process. Without failing to subject your successors to the tests they’re sure to face once they’re in place, avoid the sort of overt cruelty or manipulation that could sour them on your enterprise altogether.

5. Neglecting to Commit Your Succession Plan to Writing (With Timelines)

Your succession plan is only as good as its schedule. When timelines slip or fail altogether, the plan itself risks failure. So, commit your succession plan and timeline to writing and do your utmost to remain on schedule, come what may.

6. Limiting Your Succession Plan to the C-Suite

Your succession plan should cover every aspect of your operation, not just the seating chart in your C-suite. That’s why, again, it’s so important to get a head start.

Secure Your Tomorrow, Today

There’s no time like the present. No matter how healthy or energetic or committed you feel, a day will come when you’re ready to step back and let others run the show.

When that day finally comes, it’s crucial that you’re prepared. It’s never too early to secure your tomorrow.