Succession Planning and Business Continuity

People can be your greatest asset, and your biggest weakness. Make sure you protect against loss of key staff

Businessman falling

It is often said that people are the greatest asset in any successful business. I’d support that view: there aren’t many businesses that could operate without them. Unfortunately, it is also true that the existence of people in a business can lead to problems. People are inherently flexible and can do lots of things without instruction books. Unfortunately, that flexibility can encourage a situation where individuals take on lots of responsibilities, because the business needs them to, and inadvertently become a Single Point of Failure.

Unless the business keeps its eyes on the principles of Business Continuity Management, it can easily get itself into a position where it is overly dependent on the services of a few key individuals. Without proper planning, that dependence can result in disaster if one of those key people is not there.

Case Studies can help

Consider the case of Lloyds Banking Group and its Chief Executive, António Horta-Osório. By all accounts, Mr. Horta-Osório is a hands-on micro-manager who has his fingers in just about every pie that exists within Lloyds Banking Group. His sudden absence on sick leave took the business world by surprise and caused quite a frisson of excitement in the City; but did his absence materially affect the running on LBG? It would seem not. LBG made use of the considerable resilience built into its senior management and carried on.

Now consider how a similar incident would affect your company. How would your company cope if the senior person (MD, CEO, Owner, etc) suddenly disappeared for an indeterminate period of time?

Business Continuity Planning

Business Continuity Planning is the process of highlighting operational risks that can cause damage to the business, and then taking steps to mitigate those risks. In this case, the risk was “Loss of the CEO” and the potential damage was huge: both in terms of financial loss and brand image. As far as we know, LBG was able to absorb the loss of their CEO. Whether this was as a result of formal business continuity planning or not I don’t know. What we can assume however, is that there was at least a semi-formal process to assure the continuity of the job function.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is a strategy that can be used to mitigate operational risks associated with people in the business. It is often thought of as being analogous to career planning: i.e.

…a process for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company – wikipedia

But it also has strong business continuity implications. The process of Succession Planning involves analysing jobs and people and then ensuring that there is a pool of experienced and capable people who can step into positions as they become available. This is often taken to mean planned availability, as people get promoted or retire, but it also works for unplanned vacancies: as in the case of Horta-Osório.

What can you do?

If you stepped back from your business and asked yourself the question: “How would we cope with the loss of <name>?” how well could you answer that question? Don’t forget to ask it of yourself and remember to ask it of people at all levels in the company. Don’t assume that it’s only senior people that are critical to the running of the company. In a Business Continuity sense, it’s often the absence of people at operational rather than managerial or directorial levels that can cause the greatest impact in the shortest period of time.

Summary

The unexpected loss of critical staff can have a major operational impact on a business. Considering the problem ahead of time allows the business to ensure that critical posts have pools of experienced and capable people to fill those posts in an emergency. Succession Planning is the process by which a business can ensure that those pools exist.

Taking the process of Succession Planning seriously can improve the resilience of your business to people related risks. Make sure you consider it as part of your Business Continuity Planning.


Agdon Associates and Business Continuity UK are no longer in business. This website is not being updated: it has been left online solely as a source of useful information on Business Continuity.

If you found this article interesting, please help me by clicking the Google +1 button and/or the Facebook Like button. If you wish, you could Tweet it as well.
Thank You

One Response to Succession Planning and Business Continuity
  1. […] on this blog in Succession Planning and Business Continuity and Have you got a Succession Plan, I emphasise that businesses should plan for the unplanned […]

Succession Planning and Business Continuity

People can be your greatest asset, and your biggest weakness. Make sure you protect against loss of key staff

Businessman falling

It is often said that people are the greatest asset in any successful business. I’d support that view: there aren’t many businesses that could operate without them. Unfortunately, it is also true that the existence of people in a business can lead to problems. People are inherently flexible and can do lots of things without instruction books. Unfortunately, that flexibility can encourage a situation where individuals take on lots of responsibilities, because the business needs them to, and inadvertently become a Single Point of Failure.

Unless the business keeps its eyes on the principles of Business Continuity Management, it can easily get itself into a position where it is overly dependent on the services of a few key individuals. Without proper planning, that dependence can result in disaster if one of those key people is not there.

Case Studies can help

Consider the case of Lloyds Banking Group and its Chief Executive, António Horta-Osório. By all accounts, Mr. Horta-Osório is a hands-on micro-manager who has his fingers in just about every pie that exists within Lloyds Banking Group. His sudden absence on sick leave took the business world by surprise and caused quite a frisson of excitement in the City; but did his absence materially affect the running on LBG? It would seem not. LBG made use of the considerable resilience built into its senior management and carried on.

Now consider how a similar incident would affect your company. How would your company cope if the senior person (MD, CEO, Owner, etc) suddenly disappeared for an indeterminate period of time?

Business Continuity Planning

Business Continuity Planning is the process of highlighting operational risks that can cause damage to the business, and then taking steps to mitigate those risks. In this case, the risk was “Loss of the CEO” and the potential damage was huge: both in terms of financial loss and brand image. As far as we know, LBG was able to absorb the loss of their CEO. Whether this was as a result of formal business continuity planning or not I don’t know. What we can assume however, is that there was at least a semi-formal process to assure the continuity of the job function.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is a strategy that can be used to mitigate operational risks associated with people in the business. It is often thought of as being analogous to career planning: i.e.

…a process for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company – wikipedia

But it also has strong business continuity implications. The process of Succession Planning involves analysing jobs and people and then ensuring that there is a pool of experienced and capable people who can step into positions as they become available. This is often taken to mean planned availability, as people get promoted or retire, but it also works for unplanned vacancies: as in the case of Horta-Osório.

What can you do?

If you stepped back from your business and asked yourself the question: “How would we cope with the loss of <name>?” how well could you answer that question? Don’t forget to ask it of yourself and remember to ask it of people at all levels in the company. Don’t assume that it’s only senior people that are critical to the running of the company. In a Business Continuity sense, it’s often the absence of people at operational rather than managerial or directorial levels that can cause the greatest impact in the shortest period of time.

Summary

The unexpected loss of critical staff can have a major operational impact on a business. Considering the problem ahead of time allows the business to ensure that critical posts have pools of experienced and capable people to fill those posts in an emergency. Succession Planning is the process by which a business can ensure that those pools exist.

Taking the process of Succession Planning seriously can improve the resilience of your business to people related risks. Make sure you consider it as part of your Business Continuity Planning.


Agdon Associates and Business Continuity UK are no longer in business. This website is not being updated: it has been left online solely as a source of useful information on Business Continuity.

If you found this article interesting, please help me by clicking the Google +1 button and/or the Facebook Like button. If you wish, you could Tweet it as well.
Thank You

One Response to Succession Planning and Business Continuity
  1. […] on this blog in Succession Planning and Business Continuity and Have you got a Succession Plan, I emphasise that businesses should plan for the unplanned […]

Succession Planning and Business Continuity

People can be your greatest asset, and your biggest weakness. Make sure you protect against loss of key staff

Businessman falling

It is often said that people are the greatest asset in any successful business. I’d support that view: there aren’t many businesses that could operate without them. Unfortunately, it is also true that the existence of people in a business can lead to problems. People are inherently flexible and can do lots of things without instruction books. Unfortunately, that flexibility can encourage a situation where individuals take on lots of responsibilities, because the business needs them to, and inadvertently become a Single Point of Failure.

Unless the business keeps its eyes on the principles of Business Continuity Management, it can easily get itself into a position where it is overly dependent on the services of a few key individuals. Without proper planning, that dependence can result in disaster if one of those key people is not there.

Case Studies can help

Consider the case of Lloyds Banking Group and its Chief Executive, António Horta-Osório. By all accounts, Mr. Horta-Osório is a hands-on micro-manager who has his fingers in just about every pie that exists within Lloyds Banking Group. His sudden absence on sick leave took the business world by surprise and caused quite a frisson of excitement in the City; but did his absence materially affect the running on LBG? It would seem not. LBG made use of the considerable resilience built into its senior management and carried on.

Now consider how a similar incident would affect your company. How would your company cope if the senior person (MD, CEO, Owner, etc) suddenly disappeared for an indeterminate period of time?

Business Continuity Planning

Business Continuity Planning is the process of highlighting operational risks that can cause damage to the business, and then taking steps to mitigate those risks. In this case, the risk was “Loss of the CEO” and the potential damage was huge: both in terms of financial loss and brand image. As far as we know, LBG was able to absorb the loss of their CEO. Whether this was as a result of formal business continuity planning or not I don’t know. What we can assume however, is that there was at least a semi-formal process to assure the continuity of the job function.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is a strategy that can be used to mitigate operational risks associated with people in the business. It is often thought of as being analogous to career planning: i.e.

…a process for identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company – wikipedia

But it also has strong business continuity implications. The process of Succession Planning involves analysing jobs and people and then ensuring that there is a pool of experienced and capable people who can step into positions as they become available. This is often taken to mean planned availability, as people get promoted or retire, but it also works for unplanned vacancies: as in the case of Horta-Osório.

What can you do?

If you stepped back from your business and asked yourself the question: “How would we cope with the loss of <name>?” how well could you answer that question? Don’t forget to ask it of yourself and remember to ask it of people at all levels in the company. Don’t assume that it’s only senior people that are critical to the running of the company. In a Business Continuity sense, it’s often the absence of people at operational rather than managerial or directorial levels that can cause the greatest impact in the shortest period of time.

Summary

The unexpected loss of critical staff can have a major operational impact on a business. Considering the problem ahead of time allows the business to ensure that critical posts have pools of experienced and capable people to fill those posts in an emergency. Succession Planning is the process by which a business can ensure that those pools exist.

Taking the process of Succession Planning seriously can improve the resilience of your business to people related risks. Make sure you consider it as part of your Business Continuity Planning.


Agdon Associates and Business Continuity UK are no longer in business. This website is not being updated: it has been left online solely as a source of useful information on Business Continuity.

If you found this article interesting, please help me by clicking the Google +1 button and/or the Facebook Like button. If you wish, you could Tweet it as well.
Thank You

One Response to Succession Planning and Business Continuity
  1. […] on this blog in Succession Planning and Business Continuity and Have you got a Succession Plan, I emphasise that businesses should plan for the unplanned […]