Maybe it’s just me but I ‘ve seen a marked increase in mergers and acquisitions recently which got me to thinking about my own company and who will take over once when and if I ever decide to “retire” though that is many years away.
Succession isn’t just about the owner/ CEO in any organization. In a privately held business, it’s also about business succession for critical positions like the VP of Operations, Sales, Finance, etc).
Dr. Rick Johnson, a speaker, consultant and strategist to wholesale distribution suggests that continued success for any company is directly dependent on the people who surround them and I’m pretty sure it’s also the same with most of our members. “Succession must become part of your strategic initiatives,” says Johnson.
So how do you go about making those key decisions? The people who specialize in this area (succession) suggest mentoring is one proven way to help guarantee the future of your company. Mentoring is providing guidance, support and training to help an employee that has the potential to become an effective leader. It helps defines our purpose, values, skills and unique talents.
There aren’t many successful people in life that haven’t had the help of someone along the way. It could be a role model, a personal friend or confidant. For me, it was my Dad. My long-term relationship with him helped me develop the skills I needed. I gained experience in running a hunting and fishing wholesale company by “on the job training” and pretty much doing everything at W.L. Baumler.
In this day and age, I think however, it’s become much more “complicated.” Feedback review, improvement planning, implementing and adapting to new technologies and evaluation must also be a part of this process.
Some people say success has a lot to do with luck. The harder you work the luckier you get. I don’t necessarily agree with that. Developing skills, a right attitude and the values necessary for success are equally important. Some may define these traits as integrity, honesty, respect, compassion and character but most of all, I think it’s attitude. Success is very dependent on an attitude of both the owner (mentor) and employee (mentee).
Picking the right person to mentor is important. They must already have the respect of others in your organization and be recognized for their potential. They should demonstrate the kind of leadership that excites people that will make them want to follow. The candidate(s) you select must be willing and able to take on the responsibility of learning from you. It’s not an easy decision.
And taking a proactive role in their development and their leadership effectiveness is time consuming . The gurus say “create an action plan with your successor that defines the activities in great detail.” Specific goals and objectives with a definite timeline are keys to success.
With sales as good as they have been this past year and even now, it hard to take time but well worth the outcome. If you’d like to discuss, contact me at email@example.com.
Jack Baumler, NASGW Chairman of the Board