When leadership transitions from one generation to the next, the resulting transfer of power, influence and wealth can bring a turbulent combination of fear, anxiety, anticipation and hope. This has been true since ancient times. When Alexander the Great fell ill at 33 years old after conquering the known world from Europe to Asia, he had no successor. On his deathbed he famously declared, “The strongest” would inherit his title. His final words were, “I foresee a great funeral contest over me.” His prophecy came true and the resulting “funeral games,” where his marshals battled ruthlessly over control of his empire, lasted for nearly 40 years.
Succession planning is particularly significant for the engineering and construction industry due to a combination of forces, including mass retirement of the baby boom generation, perception of the industry as less desirable than other more glamorous fields and the residual impact of the long recession on young talent. However, recognizing these trends is much easier than responding to them. The process of succession planning should not be a singular event; leaders instead should embed it deeply in the culture and talent development processes in the company, starting with a clear organizational vision.
FMI’s experience shows that effective succession planning requires adhering to a well-defined six-step process as illustrated below:
Many construction companies wrestling with succession planning jump straight to Step 4: Evaluate the organizational candidates. If you have fallen into this situation, you are not alone. While this leap is understandable, it misses opportunities to prepare the business and its leaders for even greater success. The ultimate objectives of your succession planning process should be 1) the maximum gain from the leadership transition, with 2) minimal loss of domain knowledge and organizational capability. In order to fulfill these two key objectives, you must start at the beginning.
To learn more about each step in detail, click on: http://hale.sg-host.com/media/pdf/quarterly/2013_3_management_succession.pdf