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Leadership Series: The Power of Succession Planning
Throughout this 7-part Leadership series, we have discussed how to bring the best out of yourself to optimise your performance as a leader. The honesty and authenticity of your approach provides you with the opportunity to influence all of those around you in a more positive and compelling way. The same is true for those who report into you. You want to bring the best out of them. Succession plans are essential in all organisations for many reasons.
Let’s start with the reasons succession plans are essential for you and for all organisations:
If you are not able to develop key talent to a point where they could take the next step up, why on earth would your business ever consider promoting you to a position of greater responsibility? They won’t, so if the company doesn’t have an organisation-wide succession plan system in place, get working on one for your area.
If there is an unexpected resignation, sacking or retirement in a position you have your eyes on, you better make sure there is someone suitable to replace you or you won’t be going anywhere.
Now let’s look at succession plans make for a better working environment.
The future of the business success relies on its future leadership – contribute to that to the best of your ability. A succession plan benefits the business today – by working towards one one, you’re effectively developing leadership through your team.
A succession plan also gives the next layer of the organisation a voice, and this creates a sense of responsibility throughout the business. Encourage your direct reports to bring their own personality to the fore, play to their strengths in the same way you do, perform in ways which are truly energising for them so that the business sees them in their most engaged and productive states.
The plan should be aligned to a vision that everyone shares in. It’s not as clinical as “you need to be prepared to fulfil my role if I get hit by a bus”, it’s far more than that. It’s about cascading a purpose throughout the organisation. It’s your opportunity to embed the positive culture and values that the company breathes.
Most progressive businesses will actually see succession planning as an essential characteristic of their key leadership positions. They’ll want to see this sort of commitment to developing others before promoting into the position in the first place. Whether it is stipulated or not, you will most likely be appraised against this criterion.
Being forced to hire from outside the firm is slow, laden with additional risk and very expensive. The expense of recruitment is one thing. But the upward pressure on salaries caused by persuading the right person to leave a position, in which they know they can perform, to join another is considerable.
So how do you develop a succession plan?
Well first you need to identify some key people who are most likely to deliver value to the business by excelling in your area. Remember, in time the requirements of the role may change for any number of reasons, so be sure to have a few potential candidates.
Think about what you can bring it. A succession plan will allow you lead more effectively, rather than simply managing. You’ll be contributing to the fostering of positive influence throughout the business. It is about trust, inspiration and people.
Your direct reports will vary in terms of experience and technical expertise. So the level of direction, support, coaching, participation and delegation will vary accordingly as you develop them. Of course, management comes into it as well. There will be some knowledge and skills gaps to be filled, and that will be particular to your line of work.
By allowing your direct reports run with some of your tasks and responsibilities, you empower them to learn through experience. Should they get it wrong along the way, it is critically important to support them through that by helping them understand that failure isn’t a bad thing, it is part of the job and part of learning. There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Help them understand what caused them to take the actions they did, what the implications were and let them tell you what would be a preferable approach next time. Even if they’re wide of the mark in their review of the mistake, let them know what they were right about and then add in the rest of the detail. We learn far more from our mistakes than we do from everything running smoothly. That level of support is transformative.
Change is a constant. For your business to thrive in a constantly changing environment, you need the next generation of leaders to go within themselves to find solutions to challenges instead of going to a staff manual and looking for an obsolete answer. They need to be developed how to think, not what to think.
Succession planning is the very essence of leadership development. It’s a chance for you, those who work for you and the company as a whole to express your talents in an effective and productive way.
I have had a wonderful experience with Seven Career Coaching. Right from my initial contact to the last session. Every session was a revelation, making me think differently or seeing another perspective. My first conversation was with Evelyn who was very sensitive and also practical, guiding me through what I would expect from the process. Caroline, my first coach, really got to understand who I was and what I needed and came up with insights that helped formulate my thinking. Jelena, my second coach was amazing! She was very pragmatic and have shown me ways I can plan my way forward in all parts of my life, not just my career. I feel very lucky to have gone through the Seven Career Coaching experience. Thank you all.read more
I decided to start coaching to discover my professional passion and the process has been valuable and educational. Although the work continues, Anamaría has given me much more than I expected.
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Thank you very much, Anamaría, for these months of work. As I always tell you, the pleasure has been mine.read more
Annelise has been my coach for the last 6 months. It has been a very rewarding experience. Italian like me, she matched (and exceed) my needs during our period together.
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Professional and empathic she was always available and supportive during my time (and more) with SEVEN career.read more
Through my coaching with Ollie at SEVEN, my self-awareness has been massively expanded and elevated. I enrolled for the coaching to development my leadership skills. I was looking for practical tools and models that I could apply at work. What I got was so much more; from the fountain of knowledge that can be accessed through audio books, and all kinds of bio-hacking to supercharge my performance to gaining clarity on what I would like to achieve with my career. I feel better equipped to achieve these goals and know which resources are available to guide me along the way.read more
Coaching with Anamaria was an extremely valuable experience. She is supportive and empathetic, while her sharp sense of perception and unflinching honesty pushed me further to face the personal challenges that were holding me back.
Anamaria helped me let go of past values and expectations, and to create my own, personal yardsticks for success. I can't recommend her highly enough.read more
Anamaria gave me the confidence to believe in myself again. She created a safe space for me to explore painful feelings and emotions that I needed to accept, understand and process, so that I could go on to discover my inner happiness and authentic confidence. It has been a life changing growth experience that has given me the confidence to want to get back on the roller coaster of life, and enjoy the ups and downs of the journey. I understand myself, my values, what I want from my next career move and how to authentically sell-myself in interviews. Anamaria’s calm, caring and supportive nature throughout the last six months, made it the most rewarding and enriching experience, that I know, will only go on, to positively shape and craft future decisions and challenging times ahead.read more
I have only good things to say about Seven despite the fact that I had to stop my coaching after only 2 sessions because my career plans had changed.
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My coach Melanie was absolutely wonderful, very personable and knowledgeable. She is a true professional who has successfully gone through a career change herself. In as little as two 2,5 hours of coaching she offered me some valuable insights and suggested ways to overcome obstacles that held me back. I found it genuinely helpful and encouraging.
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I had 9 sessions with Seven and my Career/Life coach was Ollie.
To say my time with Ollie was life changing would be an understatement. From session one Ollie was on a mission to change my life around and his intuitive and energetic nature made it very easy to work with him.
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My coaching with Ollie at Seven was a tremendous success. He is extremely knowledgeable and supportive, and my time with him was always very enjoyable. By the end of the ninth session I had a clear understanding of where my future lies, and he equipped me with the skills to achieve it.
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Coaching with Ollie was a blast, he really pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me my values and my purpose. Which was always there it just needed a little help to come out. Confidence is not my forte, it seemed to disappear in my 20s. But with a few tools and techniques Ollie help my true inner self come back and also show me how to cope with negative people! I'm now on track to my true self and loved every moment of discovery with Ollie. A big huge thank you. You are a star!read more
Thanks to Ollie I now know what a life hack is! And not only do I have a “to-do” list, but I also have a “to-learn” list... and a “to-stop” list! Seven Coaching paired me with Ollie because I wanted to develop all aspects of my life- I wasn’t looking for a typical career coach. My experience with Ollie exceeded my high expectations- it was current, tailored and challenging but thoughtful. I would very highly recommend Ollie to anyone considering coaching.read more
Oliver Holloway is an excellent coach. He has a huge amount of enthusiasm and his positive energy is infectious. Ollie was able to help me pinpoint my strengths, push me out of my comfort zone and provide clarity. Along with all that, he provided me with very valuable and effective practical tools to take my career forward when I couldn't see how it was possible.read more
My experience has been just the best! Sandra has helped me in drawing my goals and steps to achieve them. Every session brings me more and more clarity and keeps me motivated. It's been such a great experience that I even continued further with the session as it truly helps me. t's been a huge pleasure working with such a talented, motivated professional that is Sandra. Highly recommend it!!read more
I found my career coaching with Oliver Holloway very interesting, thought provoking and effective. Oliver's blend of coaching expertise mixed with great enthusiasm and insight helped me understand myself better, motivate me to make change and see opportunities in a new and positive way. I feel better equipped to taken on new challenges and seek out new opportunities with a clarity I was lacking before.read more
After having an hour long phone call with a seven coach professional, I was partnered and mentored by Derek and it couldn’t have been a better experience. Working with Derek and seven not only did I unearth a lot of dark truths, but it really pushed me to my limits and to the best version of myself. It makes you ask a lot of questions about yourself and understand your WHY! I’ve gone from leaving a career and moving to a new city to finding my vocation in life. I’m now a yacht broker and living the life I’ve always wanted. It has been an amazing experience personally and money well spent. I couldn’t be happier. Personal shoutout to Derek and Jack for their professional help throughout. Invest in yourself and strive for more. Thanks Sevenread more
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Evelina is the best coach I could possibly imagine! She listened to my story, then guided me with sharp and inspiring advice. She supported me with kindness thought each step of this meaningful journey. I've made such jump in a few months. I've got my dream job, which is aligned with my values, my believe and my skills, and I've got a promotion! I feel like I've grown up a lot in a short period, as a person and as a professional. Now I have the right tools to pursue my path with serenity! Choosing Seven Career Coaching was the best thing to do ever!read more
Where to begin! I’ve just spent a truly transformative 6 months working with Oliver from SEVEN. I was feeling really stuck when I started thinking about coaching. I had a seemingly great job, lots of friends, a supportive family but somehow I was feeling unfulfilled and anxious and wondering if this was it? I had an idea of what I wanted my life and work to feel like but I felt completely at a loss as to how to achieve it. After an incredibly inspiring telephone conversation with Evelyn from SEVEN she suggested Oliver as a coach and so it began. I had no idea how empowering it would be to have someone in my corner whose soul aim was to help me become the best possible version of myself and make those daydreams a reality. The amount of energy and enthusiasm that he injected into our sessions was infectious. He provided me with endlessly interesting and helpful resources and was brilliantly creative in his approach to our sessions. Oliver has helped me work out what I need in my life to make it feel fulfilling and exciting. He has also helped me to value my unique skills and strengths and to devise a strategy for using them more effectively at work and in my personal life. As a result of my work with Oliver I've restructured my work so that I can focus on what I love, I’ve negotiated a more flexible set up at work so I can travel more and I feel empowered and more confident in my personal relationships than I ever have before. Perhaps most importantly. I now feel like I’m in charge of my life and I can achieve the things that once thought were beyond my reach.read more
I can say with utmost confidence that Oliver from SEVEN has completely reinvigorated my career, helping to open up new opportunities for the future. He did this by helping me find the core of who I am and then use these skills to the best of my abilities.
When we first started working together, I felt completely off-course and didn’t know which way to turn in my career. Through a series of engaging and creative exercises we worked together to tackle the issues that were holding me back, clarify my career trajectory, focus my values and discover my leadership style.
In each session, Oliver always had an infectious, optimistic energy that helped make this such a rewarding experience for me and each time I felt energised to take the next steps in my journey. I’ve completed our time together with such a deep appreciation for what he does. My career has taken leaps and bounds, and I’m now armed with the techniques to help me grab each and every opportunity in a way that is most beneficial for me.read more
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I started coaching with SEVEN a few months ago and have found the experience extremely helpful. They paired me with the perfect coach, Jo, and not only do I feel more hopeful and energised after each session but I have also started taking active steps towards achieving my goals. Thank you for everything - money well spent! Jenread more
I really enjoyed working with Jo from Seven. I was looking for some help for increasing confidence and bringing passion to my working career and she was the appropriate person. The coaching process boosted my confidence with immediate results, allowing me to excel in presentations and formal conversations. I would definitely recommend her to anyone suffering from a true lack of confidence but willing to go forward with positive solutions.
Thanks a lot,