Next Leader, Is Succession Vital For You?

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Next Leader, Is Succession Vital For You?

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Are you the heir apparent for a business venture? Have you endured the ups and downs, the in’s and out’s, and have many years of service? Jumping in as the next leader may require more than just being in line.

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs will quickly consider the high failure rate of passing the baton the next person waiting in line. Conducting business, driving culture, and ensuring future success are never just a matter of filling the slot.

Succession Matters

There are at least two high-level conditions for succession.

The first is, can the new leader maintain the flow and culture when assuming the same role as the current or recent past leader?

How will the new leader fit?

This question is the most commonly considered. The assumption is that life needs to continue on as it is currently. Another assumption is that it is a necessity that the disruption is minimal.

The second condition is to consider what changes will be required or should be investigated since the new leader will certainly have some varying strengths and weaknesses? Often the strategy is to play down any differences while quietly and albeit slowly integrating change.

Neither of those approaches are wrong or completely off base. Yet, are they the most productive integration of the passing of the baton?

Next Leader

Succession planning and management for all organizational positions should have connections to the current, or the most recent past leadership competencies (assuming they’ve been successful) and at the same time they should be considerate of the fluidity required for change.

For the next leader, the ability to navigate the transition intrinsically matters, and the ability to navigate it interpersonally for organizational dynamics may matter even more.

The requirements for seamless succession are often underestimated. Being the heir apparent may be a frame that is far too narrow. Skillful navigation and fluidity may matter the most.


Do you need help with succession planning and management? Contact me, I would be happy to start a dialog.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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