Fotolia_60649639_XS.jpgWhat if you lost one of your key employees unexpectedly? Happens all the time.

“We really need to get better at succession planning.” A common desire expressed by many executives.

But the reality is that it takes time and brainpower. Succession planning often gets put on the backburner.

Sometimes it’s easier to see how far you can run without addressing succession issues. After all, you could strike some sensitivities. What if you position one person for advancement, and not her co-worker? You could upset the applecart. Nothing’s broken.

But if you’re serious about growing your business, it’s probably time to take a strategic look at succession planning.

There’s greater risk if you’re not looking closely at the talent you need to grow and sustain the business.

As you prepare for growth, consider how you’ll grow out of your own role. You’ll need to find new ways to leverage your natural strengths and interests to create the most value for the business.

Succession planning is not just about planning who will take over your role. It’s about anticipating what the role should really look like in your new state of growth.

Instead of simply identifying people to groom, determine what the role really requires first.

Job benchmarking can be a first step. Get clear and agree about the skills, styles and strengths that are most critical for success in the role.

When I work with clients on these issues, they often have difficulty anticipating their needs in the future. They’re just trying to manage day-to-day operations.

Take a first step this week. Visualize how you want to be contributing to the business in the future. What will your business require a year or two from now?

Jot down some notes. As you become more clear about your next move, you’ll grease the wheels on the succession planning process.

You’ll gain faster momentum in your business by moving succession planning up on your priority list.

Learn more about Gayle Lantz and WorkMatters.