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Succession Planning Considerations for Telecom Leaders

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Long before a business owner blows out the candles at their retirement party, a succession plan should be in place to ensure the company and its future leaders are set up for success.

The idea of writing and executing a succession plan can seem overwhelming but breaking the concept down into manageable considerations – and questions – can help business owners begin the task of preparing for the future of the company.

Below are a series of thought starters we recommend considering around leadership transition planning, a core element of a solid succession plan.

Determine your organization’s end goal. The first step in planning for the future is defining a goal. Common succession goals include business continuity, talent management and meeting financial objectives. These goals will be different for each telecommunications company, so sitting down and discussing them in detail with the company’s executive committee or senior leadership team is vital to ensuring they are what they should be.

Once you determine your organizational goals, you can move forward with the creation of a succession plan.

Document core competencies, skills and intangibles needed for the role. The main concern leaders have when retiring is how all the information and knowledge they have learned over several decades is going to be transferred to the next leader. This concept can trigger anxiety, but it’s important to remember that a successor doesn’t need to be an exact replication of their predecessor.

While every single ounce of detailed information learned managing a business for years may not be necessary to share, there are key competencies and abilities that must be learned by a successor to continue to drive the organization’s future success. Determining these competencies and abilities is another crucial step in succession planning.

Confirm the knowledge transfer plan. Once key competencies are identified, the next step is to form a plan on how these competencies are going to be passed down to a successor. This will not happen overnight, thus stressing the importance of succession planning early.

Job shadowing and preparing documents and workflows are two common ways that key competencies are inherited. These processes can vary based on the nature of business and the successor’s role, but passing down knowledge before a retirement is a must.

Telecom organizations are highly complex and beginning the training process early is critical to ensuring that the business is left in good hands after its owner retires or transitions out.

Select your future leader. Finally, to what many perceive the most important step to succession planning, determining the successor.

It is crucial to start thinking about a successor very early in succession planning. If you have an internal candidate, this process may not be as time-consuming, but if you need to hire externally, this process can be strenuous. For some organizations this decision is a no brainer and for others, it requires a full-on search effort. Ultimately, when making the determination of who will be the company’s next leader, it’s essential to have a plan and to hire someone that embodies the organization’s core values and has the skills, knowledge and expertise to lead the organization in its desired direction.

Ready to build your succession plan? The topics above are just a handful of the many items to consider when developing a succession plan. Not sure where to start or need some advice on how to create a realistic and actionable plan? The team at Maner Costerisan can help!

We’re knowledgeable and experienced in helping business owners in a variety of industries – including telecommunications – build and execute highly successful succession plans.

Dave Henson

maner@manercpa.com

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