Why you should have a plan for a CEO succession


The Future of Leadership

Choosing the right CEO to take your company into the future is arguably one of the most important tasks for any board of directors. Essentially a basic level of a CEO’s responsibilities would be the face of the organisation and the connection between the directors and staff. The CEO will also take on the responsibility of being the staff’s leader, and the right person will only create more inspirational leaders at a successful rate.

The CEO must have the confidence to maintain and build on the organisation. Suppose your company has long-term clients, investors, customers and funders who already have a relationship with the previous CEO. In that case, the candidate who steps in must be correct. They will need to maintain these relationships and create new ones for the company to continue flourishing. The importance of talent mapping management when thinking about a plan for CEO succession will benefit the organisation in many ways.

What is a CEO succession plan?

A CEO succession plan is a strategy that allows an organisation to plan, assess and finally select the correct candidate to step in as the new CEO. Succession planning begins when a new CEO steps in and is an ongoing process. Continuing the methods of the succession plan even after you have selected your new leader will give you the upper hand in the long run. You will be able to build a robust list of successful candidates, giving them development opportunities where necessary and essentially building on your employee’s leadership skills. Your portfolio of internal and external candidates will soon feel extensive when following your plan consistently.

Creating profiles is a proactive way to assess potential candidates for the role. Profiles can document industry benchmarks, achievements, competencies, personal traits, and so forth. Using this information to evaluate internal and external candidates along the way will quickly devise what you are looking for from what you are not. Staying up to date with your candidates and their journey will work towards helping you to determine areas they may need development.

Candidate profiles will give you access to a strong pipeline of leaders and potential candidates for the CEO role. If your company finds itself without a CEO, then referring back to these profiles will give you the confidence that the next leader is not far from reach.

Starting a CEO succession plan that works for your company too late may not give you enough time to create a group of candidates that fit into this role. One thing you don’t want to do is rush this process, as the candidate to take on the role of CEO plays a vital part in the running of your business. At Savannah, we can help you construct the right succession plan to get the right CEO in place and manage the future of leadership within your organisation.

Choosing the right CEO using a succession plan

Following a plan that works best for the structure of your business will ensure you choose the right person for the role! There are several objectives that you should discuss and dive into with suitable candidates. Some of those are:

  • Discuss short and long-term problems the company may face.

Can they plan and execute a strategy to help the company overcome said issues?

  • Personal traits

Over the time they have been assessed for this role, what personal traits have they shown to fit into it?

  • Cultural fit

Do their company beliefs, values and strategies align with the organisation’s overall future? Are they the direction you wish for the company to head in?

  • Previous CEO and senior management reviews

Have internal conversations with the previous CEO and senior management on the candidate’s performance, achievements and confidence in this person for the company’s future.

  • Strengths and weaknesses

Assess their strengths and weaknesses thoroughly.

The candidate profile you have been building will help assess the above.

Conclusion: Don’t stop once you’ve found the one

It’s crucial and beneficial for your company to keep working through your succession plan, even once you have found the one. As you continue to implement this, you will grow generations of CEOs as you have been training and educating those candidates that you see as potential leaders. Building a solid pipeline of leaders will give your company the confidence that you will always have someone to fill such an important role.

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