The joy and backbone of every organization is continuity, yet for many, the concept of succession planning remains on the back-burners. This is perhaps unstartling, given the weight of the process. Consequently, many leaders face their sunset years with no hope of retiring and not having groomed anyone to progressively take over, when that inevitable time comes. Succession planning is the process of identifying, developing and preparing suitable employees to take up leadership positions within an organization, as the predecessors leave for reasons such as advancement, retirement or resignation. It ensures that transition is almost a non-event when it happens.
According to research, it is unfortunate that many companies lack “ready now” candidates to replace planned and unplanned losses of top management, risking the future continuity and performance of the organization or business. A CEO Succession Planning Survey conducted in 2010, of more than 140 public and private companies in North America, revealed that only 54% of boards were grooming a specific successor, and 39% had no viable internal candidates who could immediately replace the CEO if the need arose. This, among other numerous studies, not only implies the importance of succession planning but also reveals critical lapses in succession matters.
Family-owned businesses are no exception when it comes to succession planning. World over, family
businesses wrestle with ways to ensure continuity, owing to the lack of an effective succession plan. Estimates suggest that in Kenya, 60% of employment is generated by family businesses. Succession, therefore not only has an effect on the individual companies but on the country’s economy as well