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Are we encouraging leadership?

  • Published at 06:14 pm October 9th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:32 pm October 9th, 2017
Are we encouraging leadership?

In today’s highly competitive global environment, the human workforce is an organisation’s most important resource, often differentiating successful businesses from the rest. However, most organisations focus almost entirely on hiring and training nowadays.

They neglect succession planning which is an essential ingredient in building a strong and capable workforce to achieve an organisation’s strategic goal.

If we consider our present scenario, succession planning requires more than just an organisational chart showing who holds what position within the organisation.

It is best for an organisation to develop and maintain a strong leadership and to ensure having all necessary skills and competencies required for today’s and future business challenges. Succession planning can also be an extremely powerful tool in motivating and retaining top leaders.

Succession planning is a continuous dynamic process that can help an organisation to align its organisational goals with its human capital needs. It can also help an organisation to ensure the ability to adjust to sudden changes or challenges to the business, industry, and overall marketplace.

To achieve outstanding results using succession planning, an organisation must develop an effective and highly focused strategy.

To understand the need

In most cases, succession management concentrates on three major areas. First, it identifies the need for an organisation. It is quite usual for top managements to spend years leading an organisation. During that time, business practices and procedures become embedded.

As a result, daily issues take preeminence. Most of the time, organisations neglect succession planning because of two reasons. For one, top management does not want to plan for future leaders due to political issues. And moreover, they do not have people available who are fully prepared to assume the top posts.

Second, succession planning helps an organisation to prepare for unexpected events such as sudden illness or death of a key executive. Unfortunately, diseases, automobile accidents, plane crashes, and other disasters are an ongoing reality.

Developing leadership talent is both a strategic and economic necessity in our country. An organisation cannot implement its strategy without the right leadership

It is not possible to plan for every scenario and particularly for the loss of several key leaders at the same time; however, it is entirely realistic to figure out a chain of command and understand who will assume control if a key executive is lost.

Finally, succession planning ensures the availability of right personnel to keep the organisation functioning efficiently. Today, many organisations strive to identify key objectives and business goals to shape a work-force accordingly. Although top management plays a crucial role in defining such organisations, there is a need for specific skills and competencies throughout the organisation.

Not only does succession planning serve as a way to create an organisational hierarchy, it also helps organisations to create an inventory of human capital for tackling future crises.

What we are facing today

In Bangladesh, we are facing rapid demographical changes and skilled worker shortages.

It is observed that most organisations in our country are still struggling to fill job openings, from the CEO to different technical positions. “The perfect labour storm” has already inconvenienced many organisations.

Despite over two decades of warnings about the necessity of succession planning, most of the organisations have ignored it and still remain unconcerned about the issue.

To get the answer to why they are not bothered, I will present you with a scenario.

Imagine a company, a family-run business, and all the members from top management belong to the same family. As such, they don’t really bother with grooming future talent. Though their HR department always tries hard to take the right people and nurture them for future challenges, it is the top level management who have the power, and do not support the idea of hiring the right people who could very easily fill leadership roles in the future.

After a while, even HR is blamed despite their very efficient recruitment process. It is also observed that, due to their discourteous behaviour, they cannot keep their talents for long. Most people in this country are facing similar situations within different organisations, from small local companies to groups of industries.

Time to focus on succession efforts

Organisations have to have a clear vision of where the business is actually going. Depending on their growth, goals, and plans, organisations may need different kinds of leaders tomorrow than the ones they have today.

Managers tend to look for people who remind them of themselves, so instead, it is best to think critically about future needs and who can best represent them. The focus should be on developing leaders who can run the organisation as it will be, not as it is now.

Organisations in our country can start by creating a leadership pool. Subsequently, they can take on a variety of leadership responsibilities.

Great leadership does not usually arise from specialisation. Acquiring a broad range of experiences allows leaders to develop a deeper, richer understanding of the organisation as a whole.

People usually learn by doing. The primary method for developing leaders, building teams, and improving organisational capabilities is action learning. Working on real, important, and urgent business problems can be an effective way of grooming future leaders.

Developing leadership talent is both a strategic and economic necessity in our country. An organisation cannot implement its strategies without the right leadership.

Tahsin Kabir is an MBA student in HRM at North South University, and has worked in Catalyst Solutions BD.