Who Takes Over When I Quit? Succession Planning is Key!

 In Career Development, Uncategorized

Succession planning and career growth are essential for a successful business.


A question often overlooked in the operation of a business, non-profit enterprise, or government entity is “who is going to take over when someone leaves, quits, resigns or retires?”  This is not as simple a question as it may appear.

Many profit and non-profit enterprises do not carefully consider the ramifications of succession planning and career planning for many executives, as well as normal line individual contributors.  The thinking normally goes that “we can always find someone to replace Bob or Mary.”  Well, in today’s hyper-competitive job market, that may not be the case.

Technical skills, compensation, work life balance, future company growth and expansion dictate that specific skills may be required which were not envisioned when identified replacement individuals were selected.  In these cases, careful consideration should be given to finding the right person for the job!

Continuing professional education, complete competency with technology and the ability to envision the future, along with the challenges and opportunities that each bring are tantamount to identifying successful new leaders.  An individual who fails to possess flexibility, likability and the personality to work with a diverse constituency of stakeholders is probably the wrong individual to select as the new replacement.

The board of directors at General Electric recently selected an “outside” leader to replace the incumbent CEO.  This decision was made when the board determined that no internal executive possessed the skill set to be able to lead the company in a different direction because of changing market conditions.


The time to begin planning for leadership succession is the first day a new leader comes on board.  Each leader is tasked with accomplishing certain tasks.  When those tasks have been accomplished or best achieved to the leaders skill set, it is time to identify who the replacement individuals will be.

In the case of existing leaders, it is important to ensure that once a job exceeds an incumbent leaders abilities, identifying and grooming his/her replacement should have been completed.  The change is then easily made.  If a leader steps down prematurely without warning or signal, then the company must seriously consider why the leader elected to leave.  The reasons may be many; some of which can be addressed.  Others, such as personal challenges cannot.

Develop a key leadership and executive succession plan.  Constantly and continually work the plan to ensure that your organization has the best replacements identified to continue to maintain successful enterprise operations.

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