Following in your footsteps, how to ensure your leadership legacy lives on

Image of Andrew Silver, Director of 360 Growth Partners

“A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession”.

- John C Maxwell

Who will deliver the next phase of your business growth? Have you identified the critical positions within your organisation and developed a plan for individuals to assume those positions? It takes foresight and time to plan for succession and develop the next team of leaders. Making time for personal development requires bold and committed leadership and an appreciation that, for most people, we are just part of an individual’s development journey. Can we look in the mirror and say we are truly investing in, as well benefiting from, the experience and skills of an individual?

So what are some key ingredients for effective succession planning so your business can still thrive after you are long gone.

Capability gaps

Making an honest assessment of what you have and what you might need to deliver the future vision can be challenging. Better the devil I know! I am sure they could turn their hand to something else. Perhaps they can do what I just don’t enjoy doing. Sound familiar?

Moving from the early stages of growth where we are a bunch of multi-taskers to having the necessary level of functional expertise is a journey most businesses travel. Be careful of your own blind spots or unconscious bias. Get some external evaluation or at least listen to what others are saying and start to fill those capability gaps with your vision clearly in mind.


Personal development plans

Good people want to learn and grow, and I am yet to come across anybody at any level who doesn’t need regular feedback to help them unlock their full potential. I am mystified by people who believe that when we hit our most influential or most impactful positions, we no longer need development or feedback. After all, don’t we all become more extreme versions of ourselves as we get older!

Take the time to create personal development plans with your team. Ask what their aspirations are and how they would like to be part of the future. Work with them to identify their skills, and what they need to develop to succeed in the future, then create a plan, and lastly…as with all good plans review progress! Don’t forget people can learn through a mix of on-the-job learning, external input and more structured training or development. Regular structured 121s that support development, measure progress and include those difficult conversations are the life blood of personal growth.


Developing leadership teams

Having talented individuals will only get you so far. No sports teams achieve success without some clear values, behaviours and ways of playing. We have worked with a number of businesses on developing senior leadership teams and creating forums where they can take responsibility for the running of the business leaving the Directors or C-suite to focus on strategy and leadership.

If you are going to create a leadership forum then do it collaboratively, understand the purpose and framework and be clear what delegated decision-making looks like. No high performing team wants a meeting for meeting’s sake. This co-creation is such a vital part of the team’s learning and the formation of a cohesive and effective team.


Create a robust performance management culture

We need to be clear who are the people that are going to take the business to the next level. That means having a transparent selection and recruitment process that measures our own talent against the wider market. Once part of the team there needs to be an effective performance management structure that holds everyone to account – that includes, most importantly, those in the leadership roles. People are very aware of when others aren’t performing and failure to deal with it destroys faith in the leadership.

If you are bringing in new talent, give them the best chance of success by talking to them about your culture, ways of working and expectations so they can adapt their talents to their new environment.


Time for development – are you serious?

Personal and team development is a significant investment in time and money. Wanting your business to have a long-term sustainable growth and investing in it are two very different things. It is a real challenge when faced with the demands of delivering to today’s business needs to give the focus required to make sure you have the people ready for the future stages of growth. Great companies have made that commitment to their people. Strangely these are the same companies that talented people seek out and they are the ones hitting their growth targets, year after year.


If you would like to know more about 360 Growth Partners and how we can help you develop your team, create the right structure for successful performance management, and help create a talented team well after your retirement, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation!