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AcctTwo Blog

Leadership Succession Planning Must Focus On Culture

Leadership Succession Planning

Culture is so important, and it doesn’t necessarily gauge intellect, instead it measures whether or not someone will be a good fit for your team and ensure that it is well rounded. Don’t overlook the cultural component to leadership succession planning – remember people work for people.

Culture Really Matters

Many organizations take great pride in the culture that they cultivate (rightfully so), and that shouldn’t be overlooked in the hiring process – especially for succession planning. Deloitte found that at least 30 percent of newly hired executives fail in their first 18 months—mostly because of poor culture fit. So, a stronger organizational culture due to an enhanced ability to advance leaders who embody the organization’s stated beliefs might be a better fit overall.

Newly Hired Execs GraphicAccording to ZoomInfo, 95 percent of organizations admit to making bad hires every year. This can be classified as poor culture fit, poor quality of work, negative attitude, doesn’t work well with others, attendance issues, etc. It goes well beyond Human Resources, it impacts everyone in the organization. Bad hires can sabotage company culture, moral, and productivity. In fact, 53 percent of organizations reported an increase in stress after working with a bad hire.

Some of the most successful succession planning I’ve seen has included all members of the staff. With complete team involvement, it is more likely that the new leader will be a cultural fit. I asked our HR Manager, Amanda McNeil, about some of the tools we use at AcctTwo to help ensure that someone is a good cultural fit. “We use the DISC assessment at AcctTwo. It is a non-judgmental tool used for discussion of people’s behavioral differences. It has been successful for our team and we’ve implemented it with all new hires. It allows us to really understand how that person is going to work and how well they will work with our existing team.”

DISC assessments can help you improve:

  • Self-Knowledge: Learn how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems
  • Building Relationships: Recognize the communication needs of team members
  • Better Teamwork: Be able to teach productive conflict
  • Effective Management: Understand the dispositions and priorities of employees/team members
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DISC isn’t the only tool out there. Culture Index and Style of Influence (now Team Sight) are also great options. 

The purpose of succession planning is to have a plan in place when someone within your organization leaves. This  could be a career change, retirement, or an immediate life altering situation. Most of the time you can’t predict what’s going to happen, so having a succession plan in place can help work through the chaos when something unexpected happens.

The Succession Planning process should include these key steps:

  1. Decide what strengths your successor will need to keep your company growing
  2. Begin grooming your successors at least five years before you want to leave
  3. Set clear criteria for evaluating the rivals for the top job
  4. Keep delegating more responsibilities to ease the transition
  5. Aim for a hiccup-free announcement of your successor

Succession Planning for the Back-Office

You have risk management processes in place for vital processes within your organization – you should also have risk management processes in place for top talent. Be prepared before chaos happens. Download our eBook "Succession Planning for the Back-Office" to get a clear understanding of the importance of having a plan for your back-office if unexpected changes happen. In it, you'll learn more about:

  • The Purpose of Succession Planning
  • The Importance of Good Leadership
  • Culture Really Matters
  • What You Need to Know About Hiring Millennials
  • Hiring from Within
  • Succession Planning for the Back-Office
  • Post-COVID Succession Planning
  • Red Flags to Watch Out For
  • What’s Next?

Deloitte reports that while 86 percent of leaders believe leadership succession planning is an “urgent” or “important” priority, only 14 percent believe they do it well. Similar to buying accounting software, succession planning is a function that you only do a handful of times in your career. It is realistic to feel that you don’t do it well if you don’t do it often. We can help. Contact us today.

Topics: business continuity succession Planning General