Succession Planning for most founders/owners of companies is something they’d rather not think about. It’s human nature to avoid mortality and planning. But by doing so, it creates doubt in many areas of a business, not the least of which is with the employees. Leaders who avoid this responsibility make it more difficult for the organization to carry on.
“Entrepreneurs who create and build businesses from scratch are nothing if not street smart. They know business, as well as the trends that impact businesses. I am not certain that all successful family business founders know this statistic: most (60-70%) of all family businesses that lose a founder to retirement or death are sold or liquidated — i.e. not passed on to the founder’s heirs.
Many theories attempt to explain why entrepreneurial ventures fail to thrive under the stewardship of a founder’s heirs. Most pin it on the loss of founders’ charismatic leadership and their personal devotion to the business. Assuming this is so, the fact that so many founders fail to prepare for the life of their “other child” — the business — after they are gone is very unfortunate.” Source: Google Reader (11)
Nothing is ever easy but you can simplify the process by following these guidelines:
1. Define Success
2. Identify Potential
3. Develop Talent
4. Measure Progress
Keeping It Simple is the first step to a successful succession plan. If this makes sense to you and you’d like to learn more, please contact me by replying to this post or hit the Contact Us tab.
I recently wrote an article discussing the risk and consequences of complacency when we allow our organization to become too comfortable. This article goes further to look at the relationship between a comfort zone and personal or organizational growth. Without some discomfort there’s no energy or creativity to resolve the discomfort and consequently, no change from the current condition.
“In an increasingly competitive, cautious and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards. Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunity, build capability, and grow influence. In short, we must be willing to get comfortable with the discomfort involved with taking risks.
It’s only by being willing to make mistakes and try something new that you can ever accomplish more than what’s been done before. Too often we let our mistakes and setbacks define us. Yet, as Dr Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology once said, “It’s not our failures that determine our future success, but how we explain them to ourselves.” ” Source: Why Getting Comfortable With Discomfort Is Crucial To Success – Forbes
It’s a leader’s job to create the right amount and type of discomfort to advance individual development and organizational growth. If you’d like to learn how to create positive and engaging tension in your organization, call or write me. I’d love to talk. You can reach me off my profile page or through the “Contact Us” tab.
Sometimes people confuse the lack of movement of an organization with the lack of leadership. That’s because things aren’t improving or they aren’t improving fast enough, so it must be the guy in the corner office. It more than likely is a change issue.
“If an organization needs to undergo significant change, that’s a leadership issue, right? Old dogs will learn new tricks when the lead dog — or ape, or penguin, depending on the management fable of the moment — shows them off. Leaders need to craft compelling elevator speeches, relentlessly deliver the message of change, and above all, walk the talk.
How, then, does one lead the changing of an organization, whether it is a company, business unit, service line, department, or work unit? By changing the work systems that comprise the work environment around the people whose behavior is supposed to change. Therein lies the key to successful, embedded, and sustained change: alter the environment, and people will adapt to it. Call it a species strength. We behave based on the reality around us.” Change Management is Bigger than Leadership, Gregory Shea.
If you want to impart real change, change the work systems and you will get the embedded cultural change desired. If you need help with this or are looking for some new ideas, just hit the Contact Us tab or reply to this post.
How many times have you heard “Let’s not reinvent the wheel”? It’s a tried and true approach to use other’s ideas or processes to help move a company forward. Most companies trying for process improvements or other improvements look to the “Big Boys” for guidance.
Best Practices is a method that is used to help develop or change an organization and the expected outcome is better results, faster. That may not always be the case.
“Others before us—notably Bob Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer at Stanford, Adrian Wooldridge at the Economist, and Phil Rosenzweig at IMD—have issued warnings about best-practice traps and management-theory fads.1 Yet the desire to emulate is often stronger than mere rationality, even in the face of repeated evidence that most companies won’t achieve the anticipated outcomes and that some will suffer a hard fall. Research by our colleagues, for instance, has shown that lockstep benchmarking may lead to “herding” effects that, over time, diminish emulators’ margins.” Source: The perils of best practice: Should you emulate Apple? – McKinsey Quarterly – Strategy – Innovation
So before you go down the trail of R&D (Rip-off and Duplicate) Best Practices, please consider the effect or outcomes that may or may not materialize. Every business is a little bit different and therefore a “custom approach” may actually generate real results much quicker than Best Practices.
If this makes sense to you, please hit the Contact Us tab or reply to this post.
I would like to strike the word accountability from the current language of business. Next to synergy, no other word is more overused and less understood than accountability. The very whisper of it strikes fear and loathing into the hearts and minds of normally rational people. Nearly all of my clients claim that they struggle with “holding people accountable.”
I do not have an issue with the concept of accountability. I only have an issue with the word itself and how it has been misused and misinterpreted. Allow me to explain.
In most companies today, when the word accountability is used the speaker generally means “adverse consequences.” As in, “If you don’t do this /meet that /accomplish this / deliver that, I will cause something bad to happen to you.” The result of this type of coercive exercise of authority is that individuals on the receiving end of the conversation don’t hear accountability; they hear “punishment.” The likely result of any situation where accountability is interpreted as punishment is minimal compliance, not active engagement.
In their book “Life 101,” Peter and John-Roger McWilliams point out that the promises we make are always promises to ourselves, although they sometimes involve others. I believe that what they mean is that keeping my word is actually a commitment I make to myself, even if I’ve made the promise to someone else.
Accountability is an intrinsic characteristic, not an externally imposed trait. When viewed through this lens, the role of the leader is simply to help others keep their promises to themselves. We do this through coaching, modeling, mentoring, and creating an environment within which people will want to be accountable. This is real leadership.
I’m not advocating that we do away with consequences. There are consequences to every decision that we make. However, if we continue to use the threat of adverse consequences in place of creating and fostering true accountability we’ll end up with a culture of fear, indecisiveness, risk aversion, and disengagement. Fear-driven compliance is not accountability.
So let’s kill accountability. Then we can replace it with real leadership. That’s a topic for another post.