You are reading: Step 15 – Management Succession

Craig West

Founder & Chairman

For any small and medium-sized business (SME) owner eyeing an exit strategy, management succession holds a pivotal aspect. It’s not just about who owns the business – it’s about who will run it effectively. Often, this crucial aspect is overlooked amidst the broader discussions of ownership succession.

Mapping the Organization: Understanding Roles and Growth

The first step in navigating the terrain of management succession is understanding your organizational chart. Who are the key players, and what roles do they currently embody? What are their experiences, qualifications, and duration with your company? This assessment provides a foundation to envision the future.

Peering into the crystal ball of your business’s growth, you need to foresee what roles will be essential in 12 months, 2 years, and 5 years. As your business expands, new positions and responsibilities will emerge. For instance, an internal bookkeeper might need to evolve into a CFO. This transformation necessitates a strategic approach – either upskilling the existing talent or recruiting externally.

Designing a Succession Roadmap: Crafting Future Leaders

A critical aspect of management succession involves designing a roadmap for potential successors. Whether it’s for a CFO role or any other key position, detailing the necessary skills, qualifications, and experiences is fundamental. Moreover, a clear succession plan should outline the steps employees need to take over the coming years to seamlessly transition into these critical roles.

Incorporating a management succession plan isn’t just a strategic move for the business; it’s a boon for employees too. Most employees aspire to advance in their careers, to take on more responsibilities, and to enhance their earnings. By providing a clear progression plan, you not only boost employee satisfaction but also retain valuable talent.

The End Goal: Reducing Dependency on the Owner

Perhaps the most critical aspect of management succession is to reduce the business’s dependency on the owner. Businesses where everything relies on a single person – be it for product design, client relationships, or financial decisions – often face significant challenges when it comes to valuation and sale readiness. Management succession is the route to remedy this situation.

However, let’s be clear: management succession is a journey, not a sprint. It involves upskilling and investing in your team, duplicating costs and time for a period. Yet, at the end of this path, lies a business that doesn’t hinge on your presence. Imagine being able to step away for an extended period, knowing the business will continue functioning seamlessly.

As your business evolves, skill gaps will emerge – be it in sales management, financial oversight, or operational leadership. Identifying these gaps is the first step; creating a comprehensive management succession plan is the next. By systematically addressing these gaps, you ensure that your business is not just surviving but thriving, ready for the next phase of its journey.

In conclusion, management succession is not just a business strategy; it’s a testament to your business’s resilience and its readiness for the future. It’s about nurturing future leaders, bridging skill gaps, and reducing the business’s dependence on any single individual. Ultimately, it’s about crafting a legacy that stands strong even in your absence.

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