Last week, we tossed around ideas on preparing your successor. There are so many people and things they need to know. You need to have a detailed, written plan that shows how everything is going to be transitioned and how things are going to work when you’re gone.
Let’s talk about another reason a detailed, written plan is important – you have to prepare everyone else on the team too. So ask yourself: Does everyone know what’s going on?
This question might seem a little strange. What difference does it make if everyone else is in the loop? They’re not the ones that are going to run the company. Why does it matter?
It matters because the other people in the business are human, and as a result they’re going to have thoughts and ideas and hopes and fears and all the rest. In the end, the most important asset for any business is its people, so if they aren’t comfortable, the whole business will suffer.
Why do they care so much? First, the easy reason – some of them care because they want to be your successor. The sooner they know it’s not going to happen the better. I heard someone say once, “I’m afraid if I tell them, then some of them will leave out of disappointment.” That’s possible, but would it be better if they left after your successor was announced on the day of your retirement? If they’re going to leave, then they’re going to leave – better it happen now when you’re around to help your successor (and the business) deal with it.
A lot of employees won’t have had aspirations of being your successor. So why do they need to know what’s going on? Because they all know how important you are. Because they see how much you’ve done for the business and all the work you’ve had to do to make things as successful as they are. And they are all wondering – whether they say it or not – what’s going to happen after you’re gone.
What about your business? Is everyone on the same page? Does everybody know what’s going on?