Top five tips for effective succession

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Succession planning is a crucial aspect of any business, yet more than half (55%) of business leaders in the UK do not have a succession plan in place, according to ECI’s research. As the British royal family prepares for the coronation of King Charles this weekend, we take a look at our top tips to plan for future leadership:

1. Start planning early

While from birth may be a little too early for most businesses, it’s important not to wait until your CEO is about to leave before thinking about succession. Having a plan in place well in advance will ensure a smooth transition and give you time to identify the right successor and ensure they are embedded in the values of your business.

2. Plan for leadership progression

To retain the best talent, create a clear path for leadership progression. Identify potential candidates early and help to coach them in management, vision-setting and, if needed, cutting ribbons – so they are fully equipped for when the time comes.

3. Have open and honest conversations

Communication is key when it comes to succession planning. Be transparent with your leadership team and involve them in the process. Discuss potential successors and any ideas for future involvement in the business, for example as a Non-Exec. Succession isn’t a dirty word, and the more involvement from key stakeholders the more buy-in there will be if and when it happens.

4. Consider culture

A change in leadership can impact company culture. How will a new head of a company view relationships with customers, and how will they involve and empower the senior team? Just as the ‘The Firm’ will be impacted by Charles’ vision of a new ‘slimmed down’ monarchy, so will any company be impacted by the vision of a new leader. You have the opportunity to choose a successor, so ensure that they are compatible with your existing values and culture but can use the transition as an opportunity to evolve the culture to meet a changing world and new demographics.

5. Put the plan in succession planning

Don’t underestimate the importance of a defined plan for succession. The last century showed us that events that could rock the royal family, such as death or abdication, don’t cause significant disruption due to meticulous planning for all eventualities. Having a proper succession plan in place ensures the stability and future success of your business beyond the current CEO. Don’t forget about it amidst other planning for your business.

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