“All product categories have a specific life span called the product life cycle. Brands or products typically go through five stages of growth: development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline”
Yes, we all know about a product life cycles, just look at what car manufacturers do by redesigning car styles. Business leaders and business owners have a life cycle too! The issue is to know where you are in your career or business life cycle and to then plan and act accordingly.
CEOs of family businesses often have great difficulty in “letting go”. The issue is often an emotional one. Many business owners have invested so much time and money working long hours that they see stepping down as being “put out to pasture”. Ego, loss of self-worth, so called RDS (relevance deprivation syndrome – which retiring politicians claim they suffer from!) and perceived lifestyle all play a part.
Great leaders know when it’s time to pass the baton. We saw how John Howard, the former Prime Minister refused to hand over the leadership to Peter Costello. The result was a lost election in 2007, Costello leaving politics, Howard losing his seat (only the second prime minister to do so) and the Liberal party having 3 leaders in 3 years.
All businesses must have a succession plan. There are two types of succession plans; short term or emergency succession plans (the “what happens if you are hit by a bus?” scenario) and long term succession plans which protect your company’s culture, value and future. If you are a family owned business you owe it to your family, employees and customers to have a well planned and executed succession plan.
There is no greater satisfaction than mentoring and training a replacement successfully. If you do not plan for your succession then you have failed as a leader and have failed your business.
So know where you are in your career and business life cycle and start succession planning. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength and you will be recognised for it. I have seen too many companies suffer because there was not a well planned and executed succession plan.
Start planning now…