Succession planning is a critical part of management that is often overlooked. Great leaders develop great teams. Some mistake charismatic people as naturally effective leaders. These people can be very effective in doing amazing things by themselves but often times over-shadow their team, not allowing others to grow around them.
If one thinks in terms of a succession plan, then it creates a context by which you know how to develop the next level of management. What would be the gaps if you were to leave? How can you get your team to be prepared to succeed without you? In that context, you will properly develop your team — and eventually make your job much easier.
We have a great team of social media analysts in our Vietnam office. I would conjecture that they are one of the most knowledgable social monitoring and listening teams in the world. However, I was always a bit concerned about how to develop leaders within the group, as we currently have expats running the office. Succession planning has been a challenge that I’ve really pushed to the current managers. Since my last visit, I can already see a huge difference in the confidence and willingness to lead by some of the local team members. They are willing to be accountable. This is a true credit to the current leaders there.
Now, I’m very confident that not only will we have amazing social analysts with world-class domain expertise, but we will have sustainable local leadership there in the near future to lead us forward.
What’s your succession plan? Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it!