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Succession Planning

Succession planning is a touchy subject.  Few organizations actually have formal succession planning programs in place.  Normally, when someone leaves an organization, especially unexpectedly, an urgent call goes to the Human Resources Department for an immediate recruiting effort to fill the void.  Recruiting dutifully starts scouring LinkedIn, FaceBook and all manner of social media along with calling in favors from fellow recruiters in their own network.  This is sad because all the organization had to do to fill the position with a skilled person is to establish a succession prorgram.  So if it's so easy, why don't all organizations establish a succession program?  Simply put, I believe that so many senior leaders fear grooming someone to take over for them.  My personal philosophy has always been "no one stays forever, everyone leaves at some point, and the less upheaval there is, the better for the organization".  I've found that many supervisors fear their subordinates who might replace them. Their thinking seems to be,  if I groom Johnny to take over for me, he will push me out before I'm ready to go.  To that I say, yes, Johnny might do that if you sit on your duff and let him, but I would also say, every manager has the personal responsibility to keep learning themselves and to get prospering.   If you do this, you will always be one step ahead of the ambitious Johnny who is after your job.  If you are my age, you might remember a comedian named Flip WIlson.  Filp had a TV show in the '70s.  One of his characters was a woman named Geraldine.  To misquote one of Geraldine's famous lines,  "no matter what you see, I'm always holding back a little".  Perhaps this is a guide for managers concerned about being pushed out.  I would recommend that you keep learning so that you have something to hold back.    

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