Succession Success: Transferring Values and Knowledge to Create a Legacy

Getting succession right is critical for all the important reasons many of us know. Ensuring business continuity, retaining the culture, ensuring the right skills to lead the organisation into the future and retaining top talent and institutional knowledge. One factor we often neglect to consider is ensuring a legacy. A legacy that not only maintains what has been built at great cost, often with much blood, sweat and tears, but also ensures it will continue to prosper. How few nations, organisations, institutions, companies and family owned businesses continue to flourish post the founders or originators?

As a wise entrepreneur once shared with me: “You can give your children only two things that really count, values and an education.” It is the ability to do this well that will determine the ultimate legacy of any parent. Similarly any leader or team that wishes to leave this legacy needs to begin thinking about succession long before they intend to leave.

Consciously Nurture and Develop your Values

Firstly are we consciously building a culture where values are shared widely and are well entrenched? Values that are perceived as supporting the success of all, and are clearly linked to the organisational purpose. It is the culture that will provide any new incumbent with a slipstream and momentum to sustain the legacy. The culture will be the primary indicator of the legacy of any leader, as it will reflect what they valued, focused on, tolerated and rewarded. Most importantly understanding that cultures are not built overnight.

Invest your Time in Transferring your Knowledge

Secondly are we growing leaders, equipping them with the skills, knowledge and experience to not only take up the current seats, but also the ability to understand and lead the business into the future. The required investment in educating our future leaders is often underestimated, primarily as the current leaders do not see the time they invest in mentoring, coaching and role modelling as the primary way to grow leaders. Just as the mother leopard trains her cubs to hunt by first modelling and then slowly bringing them into different aspects of the hunt, so the leadership team needs to consciously engage and expose their next generation of leaders.

CEO Succession