How to Prepare the Succession for a Successful Transfer of Power

How to Prepare the Succession for a Successful Transfer of Power

Preparing for succession and successfully transferring power. Something that will be on the minds of many of you for the next few months. Because the summer months represent one of the times of the year when there are the most retirements. You have to believe that the summer heat makes many want to take to the open sea.

Preparing for succession and finding the right person for this labor shortage

But transferring power and training the next generation is not always easy. And finding the right person is even less so. Especially as we face labor shortages, companies are still grappling with the economic repercussions of the pandemic, and are dealing with rampant inflation and global conflict. Just writing it, I’m out of breath!

However, let’s try to focus on the opportunity that presents itself to you and your business. Because, who says the problem, always says opportunity. And this occasion could be the perfect time to start looking within your team to see who might be the perfect person to pick up the slack.

And thus allow a talented person to deploy their full potential. But now, it is not enough just to find the person ready to take up the challenge. You also have to work on yourself to be able to allow the other to take your place. And I mean his place and not your place. This a very important nuance to underline.

The steps to follow to prepare the succession with success

First, let’s start with the more Cartesian side of things. Because as with everything in the business world, there are classic steps to follow that serve as a safeguard to better achieve our goal. Here are some of the main guidelines to follow for a successful handover:

1. Have a plan. This seems obvious and yet, with often very busy schedules, some are surprised. See the company’s goals for the next 1 to 5 years and identify the challenges it will face.

2. List the talents and skills as well as the equally important soft skills required for the position.

3. Begin, as soon as possible, to identify potential candidates within your team. You have a pool of talent at your fingertips who know your business inside and out. See which ones might be good candidates. And, also, those among them who might be interested in the position.

4. Establish a plan to help identified candidates acquire the rest of the necessary skills and support them through a mentoring or coaching program to ensure that the future transition is as smooth as possible.

But the thing that is often forgotten is that you too will have to go through this transition. Thus, preparing for succession requires that you do some work on yourself so that the transfer of power goes as smoothly as possible. Something brings me to the next two ideas.

Know how to trust and cede responsibilities with a successful transfer of power

This may seem obvious, but on the ground, we see that it is not as easy as that. Moreover, when Simon Stokes was interviewed to talk about the transition of the family restaurant, the Simon Stokes, he confided that what had made the experience a success was precise because they had not neglected this aspect. Thus, he declared: Where I ponder we have been successful is clearness and taking the time.

But also to permit yourself to make mistakes and can improve to give yourself the tools to get there. And I discover that to be extremely telling. Especially the last sentence.

Because, here we are, often those who are going to leave, wish, unconsciously, to keep their heritage intact (their methodology, their way of managing customers, their strategic vision, their way of leading, etc.). Of course, there are certain things such as business processes that most definitely need to be maintained. Or at least for a while. But, beyond that, with a transfer of power, you have to know how to accept that the person who will take over does things with his colors.

Know How to Let Go

And yes, that is easier said than done. We devote a lot of time and energy to our work and, over time, the sacrifices have accumulated. It is therefore quite normal to experience this departure as a bereavement. Mourning fueled by the fear that our legacy will be erased. Because, even if the departure is wanted, it is all the same no less difficult.

And change, no matter what form it takes, causes a sense of loss of control and brings us back to our deepest fears. But, this fear, like all fears, can be tamed. You just have to take the time to identify it, name it, and then dissect it to better tame it.

And tell yourself that these emotions are completely normal and part of the process. So don’t hesitate to talk about it and ask for help. As with any emotion, it is better to let it surface so that you can accept and master it rather than bottle it up and let it sabotage your efforts.

And I would also say that it’s important to keep your eyes on the future. Your future, that of the person who will take the reins, and that of the company. To let go is to recognize that there is a future. A future for each of you. Which will be different from today, but which won’t make it any less good.

Want to go further? 

Need a helping hand to help you prepare for the next generation? Know that an executive coaching program can help you see more clearly and reduce your learning curve. Get support to live this stage as serenely as possible.