When Jack Welch announced his retirement from GE, there were three replacements waiting in the wings. When McDonald’s Chairman Jim Cantalupo suddenly died, his replacement was literally a heart beat away. In both cases, plans were in place and the transition for the new leader was orderly, with minimal or no impact on the organization.
Not all organizations are ready. GE and McDonald’s exemplified the importance and effectiveness of succession planning. They were ready with an able heir. But one does not have to be a Fortune 500 firm to have a plan—in fact, every organization should be prepared for the inevitable. More and more organizations realize that their success is dependent on a smooth continuity of leadership and the development of home grown talent. But more firms need to get on board. In a recent SHRM survey done with the National Older Worker Career Center, only 29% of the participants reported having succession planning plans. Why aren’t all companies getting on board? What steps should I take to develop a plan?
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