What Could Stop You From Growing New Leaders for Succession Planning?

Have you ever received a promotion or taken a leave only to find that your previous position is now being filled by a person you’ve influenced, someone who is different from you but just as capable? I had this experience recently, and while it stung to realize that I was replaceable, I felt very proud of the budding leader who stepped into my previous role.

Succession planning is a compelling topic these days, as Baby Boomers retire and take with them all the knowledge they’ve accumulated in their lifetime. Succession planning, says the Society for Human Resources Management, “is a means for an organization to ensure its continued effective performance through leadership continuity”–in essence, growing new leaders to replace the old ones in a continuous cycle. For any key position, succession planning is a crucial component of your organization’s future health.

Recently, I heard a talk by author, speaker, and teacher Beth Moore, on this critical process. In telling listeners a story about a successful leader named Paul, Moore draws out three types of people to which we can all relate:

  1. Effectual leaders–seasoned leaders who are continually productive
  2. Affecting leaders–up-and-coming leaders who are growing and beginning to influence others
  3. Affected people–those who interface with and are influenced by leaders and who may eventually themselves become leaders

Moore’s description reminds me of a 3-tiered fountain that pours from the top layer into the second, and from the second into the third, producing a continuous flow. In order to maintain the flow, effectual leaders must pour into and develop affecting leaders who, in turn, learn to lead others by their example. It sounds simple, right? But it takes intention and strategy on an organization’s part to target and develop these affecting leaders and affected people. As leaders, we must each pinpoint where we are in our organization’s flow and ask ourselves what we’re personally doing to perpetuate it.

Even more than that, effectual leaders need to be aware of what could possibly short-circuit this cycle. Moore gives a relevant caution from a blog post by Ed Stetzer, author and executive director of LifeWay Research, which paints a picture of seasoned leaders who have failed in succession planning. Here’s my summary of Stetzer’s five warnings:

  1. Trust the people you’ve developed. Don’t hold out for a clone of yourself!
  2. Don’t lose focus over little disagreements–stay fixed on your organization’s main mission.
  3. Don’t attach your personal identity to your work. You will eventually be replaced by someone else who does things differently.
  4. Don’t become one of those angry, whiny old people and alienate those who previously admired you!
  5. Pass on what you’ve started and trust that others will continue it.

What could stop you from growing leaders for succession planning? If I hear Stetzer correctly, it’s me, if I’m not careful! We’ve all experienced people who are hard to work with because they get stuck in their ways and refuse to grow.  If you want your organization to succeed, don’t be one of them. Resolve to be a lifetime learner, stay humble, and remember the days when you were young with a fresh perspective. The future of your legacy lies with the next tier of leaders you’re hopefully in the process of developing now.

Want to read more about creating a culture of leadership development? Click here.

Do you need help finding high-performing professionals to build your team? Call us at (714) 993-1900 or contact us today to get started.

Amtec Bitz Newsletters

Essential industry highlights & expert insights every month.

Latest Posts

View all posts