I'm not an expert on succession planning - at least, not in the same way I am an expert on strategic planning. Yet there are quite a few important links between the two disciplines. In particular, when succession planning involves the top management in any organization, it can have far-reaching strategic impact.
In my experience, one of the most important intersections of the two disciplines occurs when strategic planning is an ongoing part of the organization's overall strategic management. Strategic planning will very likely help you towards a successful transition in five distinct ways:
1. Strategic planning situation analysis will likely identify succession as a key issue early
2. Strategic planning will help the departing CEO to evaluate the strategic thinking of his or her top management team
3. Strategic planning can expose the new CEO to the strategic thining of the departing CEO
4. Strategic planning is an excellent joint activity for the new and departing CEOs during the transition period
5. Strategic planning helps to stabilize the organization during what might be an otherwise disruptive period
While you probably don't need benefit number one, if you are already concerned about succession planning in your organization, the other four benefits are all excellent reasons why a routine, disciplined strategic planning process should precede any planned succession and continue through the transition period.
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