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Of NGOs and Succession Planning- Part 2

Posted on 26 September, 2020 at 04:30

By Kudakwashe Ngoma

It is important for organisations to visualise their future beyond projects. This is where the issue of organisational sustainability comes into play, and succession planning is a key facet of sustainability. First generation leaders have to hand over responsibilities to the second generation for continuing the services of the organization.

While it is true that succession will happen one day, is a plan essential? Yes, because if an organization decides upon handing over management responsibilities to a new leader at the last minute, it can cause misbalance in the structural system. Organization may end up being unmanageable and inefficient if proper leaders are not identified and promoted. The ability of the organisation’s management to deliberately drive the organisation in the direction of sustainability is the hallmark of modern-day leadership attributes that are very rare to come by. Listed below are some of the benefits, for an organisation, of having a succession plan in place.

Disaster-proofs your business

The reason one buys insurance is to protect their car from accidents or fires. You install security systems to defend the organisation from theft. And you back up data to an off-site location to safeguard your institution’s proprietary information. Many organisational leaders get so busy with the day-to-day operations of their institutions that they fail to make succession planning a priority. Some leaders may think they’re too young to be hit with a serious illness. Or they forget that a key player (or several) could be lured away by another organisation that needs their skills and is willing to pay top dollar for them. Any of these scenarios can leave an organisation uniquely vulnerable.

It is key to remember that succession planning is another step in your senior leadership’s strategy to safeguard the future of the organisation – whether you are physically there for its long-term success or not. Starting the conversation may be daunting, but the sooner the work on your succession plan begins, the quicker your organisation is shored up for the long haul


Identifies your most-qualified future leaders

Formal succession planning requires your company to identify those positions most critical to the future success of the company. These might not all be C-suite positions. Leadership has to identify internal candidates with the values, skills and desire to take on those critical jobs. Talking to potential candidates about their interests and career plans then becomes very important.

These crucial steps in succession planning lead to several benefits. First, a thorough look at your organisational chart helps your leadership better understand potential vulnerabilities, and can bring a sense of urgency to cross-train key employees in certain roles. On the other hand, if there are truly no internal candidates who seem right for leadership positions, then you know to begin an external search early on. Most importantly, some of the benefits of succession planning is that it lets ambitious, less-experienced internal candidates know their hard work and skills have been noticed and appreciated enough to be considered for advancement. This can be an incredible retention tool and motivator for junior managers and subject matter experts who want to advance their careers into management.

Creates structure for training and development

Once your organisation has identified that Sally, Bob and Bruce are interested in moving into senior positions, you can identify any competency gaps and begin grooming them for their eventual succession.

Some of the employee’s professional development may come in the form of coaching, mentoring, job shadowing or a gradual increase in more advanced responsibilities. Other positions may even require the candidate to go back to school to get additional education or professional certification. By tapping potential successors early, you give employees time to acquire the skills and experience they’ll need to perform well in their senior roles. You also let employees know that you’re willing to invest in their growth as well as the organisation’s.

Keeps extra eyes on a job

Once your top prospects are being groomed, your organisation has a chance to reap perhaps its best tool to grow and thrive. This happens when a junior manager is sitting and talking with their senior leader about why they’re doing things a particular way. The simple process of explaining the status quo helps reveal weakness in processes and procedures, uncovered opportunities and opportunities for positive change. This natural process allows your company to keep an extra set of eyes on its senior roles and encourages questioning of the operational norms that may have become dated or inefficient.

In this way, succession planning results in future-proofing your organisation. Conversely, when retiring employees leave, they can act as a sounding board for questions and concerns, troubleshoot customer problems and more. This helps to smooth the transition.

Helps the company plan for the long-term

Change happens fast. When your company knows where it’s going, your team can plan for the future. If you position succession as part of your institution’s overall growth plans, you create a path for retiring employees to hand off their years of hard-earned knowledge and transition important working relationships before they leave. The objective of a succession plan is to help your organisation sustainably grow with intent as you identify and build plans for vulnerabilities in other areas of operation. Other benefits to succession planning may include providing help in ascertaining which areas require innovation, setting realistic goals for growth and planning for future talent needs that may result from that growth.

The above list of benefits is by no means exhaustive. These only stand to highlight what your organisation stands to gain if and when it chooses to be deliberate about the sustainability of the organisation and institute into place succession plans. For further insights or if you would like expert guidance on succession planning and other governance matters for your organisation, please get in touch with KFM Consultants at information@kfm.co.zw .

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