When an important member of your management team, or even you, plans to move on from the company or to retire, it is very natural for remaining team members to feel nervous or apprehensive. After all, they are used to working with a specific management style and will naturally move back into the ‘forming’ stage of Bruce Tuckman’s model of how teams perform.
When a new person steps in, the ‘old guard’ can feel like they are scrambling to understand their role anew. At this point, it is not uncommon to see an exodus of talent as employees decide to follow suit and seek new opportunities.
As the individual leaving (or the person directly responsible for this individual), the most important thing that you can do to ensure your organisation’s continued success is to create an effective succession plan. Not only will this plan help things to run smoothly in the days, weeks and months after your departure, but it will help you retain the talent you have worked so hard to develop.
5 tips on how to create an effective succession plan and retain your talent
1. Understand the ‘medium term’: We often hear about the long term, but these predictions often become out-dated and irrelevant. No, in order to leave a truly effective and useful succession plan you should become well familiar with the medium term goals of the organisation.
2. Plan for these goals: With the medium term business needs in mind, you can then assess what will be required in your absence. Remember to prioritise innovation, curiosity and comfort with change, and then leave specific plans with those in mind.
3. In this case, ‘playing it by ear’ will lead to failure: It can be tempting to think that your replacement will simply be able to ‘play it by ear’ and figure out how to pick up where you left off.
4. “There is no way I can be replaced”: We all like to think that we are completely unique, and that there is no way to replace our presence. Not only is this not true, but this mentality will lead to failure in your absence. Leave all relevant information for your successor – they will move on from when you ended and add their own twist and flair to the position.
5. Instil a sense of trust in your successor: If your employees don’t trust you, you will fail – and the same goes for your successor. The best thing you can do for everyone involved is to work to build a bridge between your replacement and your team. If you demonstrate that you trust them, your team is far more likely to trust them as well.
What other tips do you have on leaving a positive legacy?