Succession planning strategy as a business imperative

Succession planning strategy

The principal weakness in many businesses’ strategic thinking is a lack of following a strategic plan for succession; family businesses are no different.


Partner, Global Head of Family Business

KPMG in France


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Succession planning

The succession strategy is an important segment of the overall strategic plan of a business, and should be aligned to the same business goals. A well-thought-out plan that is used as a strategic tool will ensure the business achieves long-term success.

Key essentials to keep in mind

The Center for Simplified Strategic Planning’s article, The Strategy of Succession Planning by M. Dana Baldwin, shows that the strategic approach to succession planning in a family business depends on the specific requirements of said business, and is not a template that can be copied and implemented.

The process of developing a strategic plan should be unique to your business.

Planning for the future of your company should include more than just a succession plan for the CEO. A strategically sound plan that involves every significant individual and fundamental position in the business is essential and holds benefits that can help to assure the longevity of your family-run business.

The focus should be on determining and mapping the future needs of the specific business and then identifying what you need to do to get the most from your workforce. Align the abilities and potential of current employees to the future roadmap of the business to determine which position they should be primed for, and then develop a succinctly defined career development map for the specific individual – assuring a well-educated, competent and reliable workforce that is aligned to the vision of the company.

The advantages of following a strategic approach

In The Strategy of Succession Planning, Baldwin details the many advantages that can be derived from implementing a strategic approach to succession. Creating a continuous source of capable and trained people who possess the required business acumen and company knowledge, which is aligned to the overall strategic plan of the business, and who are ready and able to enter key positions once required, is definitely the biggest advantage.

The absence of strategic direction whilst implementing your succession plan will lead to an unsatisfied, frustrated, and unmotivated workforce that will eventually depart for greener pastures.

Not only will the reputation of your family business suffer in return, but the inclusion of ill-equipped and uninterested people in the succession plan has the potential to irreparably damage the business.

Following a strategic approach will impact positively on longevity and reputation

Following such a strategic plan to succession in your family-owned business will result in a group of skilled, capable, and qualified people resources that are familiar with the company’s intellectual property and offerings. A cache of people that are mentally stimulated and have a career development plan will enhance the reputation of the business as an inspiring and stimulating employer, which increases the possibility of attracting highly talented people in the future.

A family-run enterprise should regularly review its needs and resources toensure that the requirements, as per the strategic succession plan, are met or that individuals have been identified and are being primed to meet the requirements.

In conclusion, the best succession plan is one that is strategically aligned to the overall business strategy. It should be a well-thought-out plan that uses the strengths and potential of the candidates to ensure the longevity of the business, beyond the present.

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