• Leah Norman

Succession Planning

Is your business ready for sudden leadership departures?

It's January, the time of the year when people sit back while enjoying their summer holiday and take stock of their lives... do they really want to come back to the same old job?

The unexpected departure of personnel in key and senior leadership positions occurs more commonly in January and March (being the end of the financial year) than any other months of the year.… So how does a business respond to this scenario? Ideally, the business has a succession plan in place. At a minimum, a good succession plan should include:

  • Identification of the key leadership positions within the business and the required competencies;

  • Recruitment strategies required to fill the key positions;

  • Identification of employees who, with development, could fill the key roles or become the next leaders; and

  • A learning and development strategy for employees marked as potential future leaders.

Having in place a succession plan with identified employees who would be able to step up and fill ta senior leadership position, even if on a temporary basis, will hopefully ensure that there is a smooth transition and handover. Consider the scenario where a senior leader within your business leaves unexpectedly and takes other members of the team with him or her? Or upon finding out that a certain individual has gone, what if other employees start to talk about leaving the business?

In these circumstances, in addition to having a succession plan, having a strong culture within the business with a leadership team who embodies the values of the organisation will demonstrate to employees that the business will continue “as usual” notwithstanding unexpected departures. With a strong culture in place, a business can then recruit personnel who fit the culture.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon, for a senior executive or manager to leave for a new opportunity. It is also inevitable that people in leadership positions will be replaced at some point in time. For businesses, it is not necessarily about denying or blocking employees from taking up opportunities, but about having a plan in place for the next set of leaders to continue to guide the organisation.


This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Yellow Consulting does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.