A business, regardless of its size, has to be best prepared for any challenges that it may face. This is especially the case when it comes to having the right people ready to move into key positions when the current leaders leave.
As a result, having the right succession plan in place is integral to any organisation, as even the best employers can suffer significantly if they do not plan out the business’s future.
Succession planning is a strategy that businesses use in order to identify and develop future leaders at a company, both at the top, as well as other roles at across all levels within the business. It helps potential business leaders prepare themselves for what is yet to come.
Expedition42 Client Account Manager George Tabone on Tuesday shared that he has been listening to a number of podcasts on succession planning and is “intrigued” by the subject as he came across it during his day-to-day work.
“Succession planning is a critical process for any organisation, but it holds special significance for family-run businesses. It’s essential to establish a roadmap that ensures a smooth transition of leadership and preserves the legacy of the family business for future generations,” he explained.
Mr Tabone, who is experienced in the recruitment industry, proceeded to list some key considerations that business leaders – especially those in family businesses – have to take note of in order to implement “effective” succession planning.
Firstly, he remarked that business leaders need to start the process in advance to “allow ample time for grooming and developing potential successors”. “Identify family members or key executives who possess the necessary skills, vision, and passion to lead the business forward,” he added.
He also pointed out that business leaders need to clearly define roles and responsibilities, by highlighting the qualifications, expectations, and criteria for family members interested in joining the business, thus “ensuring meritocracy and alignment with the company’s goals”.
Additionally, professional development needs to encouraged, with family members involved in the business being provided with “continuous learning” opportunities. “Provide opportunities for them to gain experience outside the family business, fostering a broader perspective and skillset,” he explained.
He continued by highlighting the importance of establishing a mentorship programme for prospective leaders to follow. Such a programme pairs younger family members with seasoned executives or external advisors, helping “bridge the knowledge gap”, fostering growth, and also ensure a “smooth transfer of knowledge and expertise”.
Mr Tabone added that it is integral for business leaders to establish a culture of open and transparent communication, encouraging “dialogue active listening, and respectful discussion of ideas and concerns”, as this will help “build trust” and ensure “alignment in decision-making processes”.
Planning for contingencies is another chief concern for business leaders, as they need to prepare themselves for unexpected events, such as sudden departures or other unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, potential successors have to be identified, and employers have to ensure that they are “prepared to step into leadership roles when needed”.
Lastly, he also stated that business leaders can also turn to external expertise for more insight on how to best handle such situations. Mr Tabone said these come in the shape of external consultants and advisors, or else Board Members who bring “unbiased perspectives and expertise” in succession planning. “Their guidance can help navigate complex family dynamics and provide valuable insights,” he continued.
He added that succession planning in family-run businesses is a “delicate balancing act” that combines the “strengths of family ties with professional management practices”.
“By implementing these strategies, you can pave the way for seamless transitions, sustainable growth, and the continued success of family legacies,” he concluded.
Mr Tabone is an experienced Recruitment Manager and describes himself as having a “keen interest in business development and client relations”. Over the course of his career, he has become skilled in crisis intervention, case management, and working with adolescents. He holds a Master of Science in Human Resources Management and Training from University of Leicester and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from University of Malta.
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