I had two succession calls this week.
I’ve been including these succession calls in my weekly recap now for a while, but we haven’t really gone into detail on what they mean. Let’s explore together: a succession call is exactly as it sounds, an opportunity for a CEO to create a plan for their succession in the event they leave the company or something unfortunate causes them to step down from their leadership position. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
One clear aspect of succession is to decide who the next leader should be. But leaders do not emerge the moment a long-standing leader retires or leaves their post. Up-and-coming leaders must be nurtured, developed and multiplied to ensure an organization’s future success.
In his book, “The Leader’s Greatest Return,” renowned business author John C. Maxwell describes a 10-step process to create a new generation of leaders within a company. These steps are:
Step 1: Identify. Before you can create great leaders, you first have to find them. Mentally survey your team to examine each member’s potential to lead.
Step 2: Attract. To attract strong leaders, be open and transparent. Let future leaders know there’s a place for them in leadership if they remain focused, productive, goal-oriented and dedicated.
Step 3: Understand. Understanding future leaders requires fostering strong connections with your team. I typically ask team members 18 questions to get to know them better. Whatever method you use, a lasting connection built on mutual trust and respect should be your goal.
Step 4: Motivate. How do you really motivate a team? As we discussed in a previous post about mental marketing, the power people have over their own minds is limitless. When their inner voice speaks, they always listen. This means if you can find a way to self-motivate employees, they’ll keep that motivation going with far more passion than if you try to motivate them yourself.
Step 5: Equip. You cannot simply expect leaders to form. You have to guide them with a roadmap for success. This roadmap can arrive by way of a system of accountability or goal-accomplishment. Equipping future leaders refers to the tools, systems and processes you put in place which they can follow as they grow to become leaders.
Step 6: Empower. Nobody likes a micro-manager. Once your leaders develop sharply honed skills and experience, get out of their way and let them lead. Empowered leaders drive powerful results.
Step 7: Position. More than a solitary empowered leader, a team of leaders working in synchronicity (or as “The Boys in the Boat” author Daniel James Brown would say, “in swing”) is unstoppable.
Step 8: Mentor. I’ve had so many influential mentors in my career and take the time to mentor others. When you can leverage your experience and wisdom to help others, the value they’ll receive from this coaching will be priceless.
Step 9: Reproduce. A leader is only as stifled as their ability to regenerate new leaders. When you can reproduce your leadership-creation practices, your entire company will benefit.
Step 10: Compound. The Pareto principle (or “80/20 rule”) says that for many outcomes about 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes. Leadership development is an 80/20 concept. Fostering great leaders affects the success of your organization—it’s the 20 percent “vital few” exercise that most deeply impacts growth. So, what’s the message? A leader’s success can rightly be measured by their ability to create new leaders. It’s the best—and only—way to ensure a future shiny and bright.
This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.