Leadership Transition

4 Tips for Getting it Right

Do Your Homework.

What got you in the position may not be enough after the fact, so don’t make big moves just yet. Instead, assess what your position requires of you — what you’re missing, or don’t have a high enough skill level of. You’ve then got to remedy those areas.

Take everything about the company into account. To make it easier for you, it’s best to create a map of how power works in your organization and among your stakeholders. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your organization’s culture, too.

As a CEO, you’ve got to know how everything works, so here are the five basic dimensions of leadership, which are as follows:

  • the business’ strategies and operations,
  • the organization’s corporate culture, 
  • the staff,
  • the leader themselves, 
  • and your other stakeholders

When taking stock of your organization, you don’t need to go far for information. You’ve already got the best sources at your fingertips, such as the previous CEO, your staff, as well as retailers or suppliers, and your customers.

Lay the Groundwork for the Critical Roles in Your Company.

Upper management should consider each and every critical role within the company – there should be backup plans for all roles, in case of vacancies. Ensure there’s a development plan and succession plan for every position.

Once you have plans for moving new people into senior-level positions, revisit them as needed, and regularly. Remember that you should revisit your plans for your CEO the most — what your company needed just a few months prior may not be the best choice from here on out.

Your current choice of CEO may need some extra instruction to properly lead the organization. So, make sure your plans fit your present situation like a glove.

Five Important Stages

Leadership transition has five stages, which are:

  • Emergency succession planning. Here the board prepares a list of possible people who can take over the responsibilities as needed.
  • Transition planning, where the leader plans their own departure from the organization.
  • Succession planning. This sees the organization planning for the departure of the current leader.
  • Leadership change. Here the upper management announces the CEO’s approaching departure, but mostly they manage the internal and external relationships.
  • Selection of a new leader — interim or otherwise.

Emergency Succession Planning.

The board of directors should have emergency plans in place before they start searching for a longer-term leader. Their chief concern should be finding an interim CEO. They shouldn’t just call it done after picking one person — the board needs to have a list of potential candidates to choose from.

Think of it as having a backup leader in case the CEO gets too sick to properly do their duties, or has to handle some family matters, or are being kept from serving the company due to natural disasters. The board can collaborate with Human Resources regarding the list.

Here are the basics of making a general emergency plan:

  • Write down key information such as passwords and bank account details.
  • Also, take note of insurance policies, funding commitments, grants currently in process, partnerships with contacts, and your suppliers and vendors.
  • Additionally, you need to create a list of emergency contacts for all your employees.
  • Set up offsite backup, and/or cloud-based storage – that’s if you don’t already have one or the other. This way there’s no chance of losing the company’s pertinent files and information.

Prepare your emergency succession plans. Define who’s in charge in case one person in a high-level position can’t fulfill their duties. It’s imperative that your chain of command doesn’t break – so you’ve got to have backup candidates for your backup

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