Succession Planning

October 17, 2023

Our October topic: Succession Planning – Transition of Business/Mentorship/Nurturing Future Leaders.  From Our Round Tables, the advice emphasizes thorough succession planning that goes beyond retirement, ensuring the business can thrive independently. Mentorship and nurturing future leaders are vital, with a focus on passing on the gift of leadership and helping individuals find their purpose within the company.

Succession planning can have many layers to it, outside of just retiring.  It can also mean taking a vacation without having to take a phone and work 85% of the time.  Do business as a company, as opposed to individuals, because if something happens to the owner, the business can continue.  This protects both the clients and the employees.

Also, consider that your succession plan should not necessarily be around your timeline to retire. Your succession plan is for when you won’t be there.  Your business must be able to survive without you.  Regardless of your age, you can become incapacitated or unable to be there.  That is what your succession plan is for.

Not an owner of a company?  How do you handle succession planning for an executive director of manufacturing?  It’s an opportunity to discuss who is going to fill your role as you move onward and upward or leave the business.  They may not own the company, but they should be mentoring people.

How do you get senior leadership or executives to change their mindset?
Let them know, you have been given a gift to be in your positionHow are you as a Christian, passing that gift on?  Is there someone you see as having potential in your company and what are you doing about that?  If they are leaders, they have a duty to lead.

From our Oxford Round Table:  We want to build a sense of leadership in each employee by mentoring them.  We ask, “How can this person train the next because we want to grow.”  We try to help people find where they fit best in the organization.  What is God’s purpose for you, what did he build you to do?   How are you going to be most fulfilled personally and then in our company?  That is our hope, to help our people do that.

One business owner from our Holland Round Table said:  It can be frustrating, but he has hired and trained interns, and as they got a little bit of knowledge, they are gone because they can earn more elsewhere.  He operates with the values of faith, family, and business, in that order, and as interns leave to work in godless companies, he keeps in touch with coffee, lunch, etc.  He still talks with interns from 3-4 years ago.  They are seeing what is out there in the world, and they know exactly what they would come back to when he is in a position to re-hire them.

Leadership in sports
It’s the way athletic teams work.  The head coach doesn’t plan on assistants being with them for 25 years.  The point is to get them to a place where they can go off and coach.  We look at the legacy of the coach and their coaching tree and those who took their philosophies and were successful elsewhere.

One business owner said he was in a position where he did not have anyone to replace him.  This experience put him in the mindset to hire his replacement whenever hiring a new employee.  Also, hire someone you can report to, as that can happen in large organizations.

Worthy Succession Goals:

  • Ensure the vision lives on in the hearts and minds of the leaders and employees who follow.
  • Ensure that those who follow have a passion for the mission of the company.
  • To ensure that the next generation of leaders have a heart to serve rather than a spirit of entitlement that views the company as being there for their benefit and pleasure.

The most critical factors in achieving these goals:

  • View the company and your leadership as a stewardship to God.
  • Be an example of the vision and values I want the next generation to follow.
  • Work to build shared core values among all the employees and live those core values out daily (especially when the cost to do so is high).
  • Incorporate faith into the succession process.
  • Make this a team effort by organizing a group of leaders to give regular attention to it.

Remember that the mere survival of the company is not a worthy succession goal. We need to be passionate enough about the mission and values of the company, that we would rather see it cease to exist rather than compromise them.

Upcoming Event

Please mark your calendar for our Detroit Leadership Breakfast Social with Davin Salvagno, bestselling author, founder & CEO of PurposePoint on Friday, November 17 at the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club.