Game of Thrones; aka, the war of succession

Game of Thrones; aka, the war of succession

Succession planning is not just for the monarchies of this world, and it doesn’t have to be a blood bath either.

Also, the biggest, blue-chip-type organizations are not the only ones that need to groom multiple levels of leaders. Even the smallest of businesses need to know and plan for where their next set of management is coming from. Even more so for small companies. They cannot afford to be empty at the helm. That’s exactly how wars are lost, and when it comes to the war for talent, the cost of losing a single battle is getting higher and higher.

When it comes to the war for talent, the cost of losing a single battle is getting higher.Click To Tweet

Making sure you invest in succession planning also labels you as an employer who cares about the development of their workforce, and in the ruthless world of Glassdoor.com reviews and employment branding, you can’t afford to have any other type of reputation.

It also makes for smart business. Anyone could leave your organization at any time, and it’s your job to make sure you’re well prepared if and when that day comes. Things you can actually do:

Communicate

No matter what problem you’re trying to fix in life, generally the answer is always communication. Succession planning is no different. Communicate your plans to key stakeholders to ensure executive buy-in. There’s no point bringing a leader on board that everyone hates – sorry, “that isn’t able to galvanize their team.” You’ll have a horrible Game of Thrones situation on your hands, and quite frankly, no one really deserves a poisonous pie or a knife in the back.

Always be sourcing

It’s clichéd and corny, but it’s also very true. You need to constantly be on the lookout for successors, no matter how great your golf game with Bill was, or no matter how engaged Susan is. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the world of recruitment (or Game of Thrones for that matter) it’s that everything can change, and probably will, in a heartbeat. When that change comes, as it inevitably will, make sure you already have a shortlist in your mind of suitable candidates for the job.

It’s not always the Prince

Keep an open mind to potential new leaders; as the best option is often not the “obvious choice.” The second-in-command doesn’t necessarily make the best new leader. Joffrey was a prince, and we all KNOW he never should have been King. So there is that to consider. Game of Thrones aside, keep looking at other employees that display the necessary skills to flourish in leadership roles, regardless of the position that they hold now. People are forever changing their stars.

Keep an open mind to potential new leaders; the best option is often not the “obvious choice.”Click To Tweet

Declare your mandate

Let the managers in your organization know what you’re up to. There is no one who understands and knows your people better than the managers who interact with them on the ground every single day. Having as many eyes and ears on the ground as possible will never be a bad thing.

Do what you say and say what you mean

While everyone in Game of Thrones changes their minds every night, that is definitely not a lesson to take. Don’t promise a crown to someone and then take it away. It will always damage the business more than the individual. Failed promises of promotion lead to dissention in the ranks, and that’s never a good thing. Always make good on your word.

While you do have to ensure that you keep promises, that also means you have to ensure that you take enough time to make the right decisions in the first place, which is why succession planning will always be important. Start looking now. Always keep an eye out for potential leaders. Train them, care for them and nurture them. When the time does come, you’ll have an army of willing candidates from which to choose.

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