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Leave a healthy heritage for your company and for your people. How to save the best for last

Why do so many companies often encounter serious problems related to the succession of their leader? According to us, this question is not being asked often enough. Still, the reasons for this are well known in corporate life. As it happens, most leaders don’t like to consider resigning.

The real reasons are often the same

  • Leaders are enjoying their number 1 status
  • None of the candidates is considered sufficiently suitable and not a good talent pipeline
  • Leaders are afraid of falling into a sort of limbo after having been replaced
To put it briefly: leaders tend to keep postponing their succession, until it has become too late to orchestrate a decent take-over with a suitable candidate.

Many companies really need a sound succession planning. Usually, leaders consider the financial aspects such as succession rights in time, even though the latter are not always guaranteed. But succession is not just a process consisting in deselecting the to do’s. Feelings are involved. Usually, the deepest of human emotions play a role in this process. You need to consider the hard as well as the soft side in order to achieve a successful succession.

All of our consultants have developed expertise during the past decades in this field. This enables us to effectively help companies to plan the succession of their leader and of their management in general.

Leaders can only be considered really successful if they start ensuring their succession in time. This is crucial since they often don’t have control of the transfer date. Indeed, they can leave the company earlier than expected due to an accident, to illness or for personal reasons. At such a moment, improvising about such an important topic would be really irresponsible towards all stakeholders. Especially towards the employees and customers.

Four steps are required. We discuss them in detail during your program

  • As from the moment of appointment, you need to draw up a succession plan in case of crisis.

  • Draw up a succession list of the internal and (ideally) external candidates selected according to clear criteria including functional experience as well as leadership style. This list can undergo a dynamic evolution throughout the years as long as it stays up-to-date and real.

  • Make a planning including the take-over period. Make sure there will be enough time available to coach the new leader and to enable the person to settle in.

  • The resigning leader should draw up a personal plan including new interesting activities for the next stage in life. Don’t underestimate this last item, because a lack of attractive plans is often the reason why leaders stick to their role for too long and run the risk of falling into a sort of limbo.

Bear in mind that cemeteries are full of leaders who thought they were indispensable! Letting go might seem hard and difficult, but moving on opens the doors towards the next stage of your life.