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Theoretical Framework

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 Scharmer’s U model theory can be used to understand successful planning. In his theory, Scharmer (2007) observes that the top management team should embrace and act to implement succession planning. He views succession planning as beginning from the immediate future. The theory supports a concept of U process, which consists of five movements that make change possible (Scharmer, 2007).

 The first movement is co-initiating. At this stage, the organization establishes a common purpose with all stakeholders about a future event. This suggests that everyone in the company has to be involved in succession planning process. Succession is, therefore, a concern of all involved in the operations of the company rather than the work of a single individual.

 The second stage is co-sensing. At this stage, the company sees the need at hand as a whole in all spheres. At this stage, new ideas are put in place and innovation occurs through a collective input. The stakeholders of the company give room to changes by welcoming new ideas in the running of the company. Innovative ways of doing business are sought, and this becomes the work of every person and not necessarily the work of chief executive officer alone.

            The third stage is forecasting, or what Scharmer calls presencing. At this stage, the leadership of the company foresees the future they want in place for the company. A foundation is laid for change that sets up the company to the expected end. Unresolved past issues are let go and focus laid on realistic future goals. This forms an important stage in a company’s succession because this is where the company’s future needs are envisioned and worked on. Succession plans are made with this future in mind, and potential successors can be identified at this stage by focusing on skills and competencies necessary to steer the company towards the desired end (Ballinger & Marcel, 2010).

            The fourth stage is co-creating. At this point, the leadership looks at what the future model of the organization will be. Scharmer suggests that at this stage, leadership should make succession planning a long-term concept and not just focus on immediate organizational requirements. Strategies to identify potential successors that will ensure sustainable and dynamic succession plan is put in place. This involves looking into the qualifications of the potential successors.

            The fifth stage and the final one Scharmer refers to as co-evolving. That involve strategies that are aimed at helping the organization to embrace change and implement succession planning strategies in the context of an emerging future. Continuity will, therefore, be achieved through collective work rather than making of unilateral decisions by the leadership of the company. The views of all should be considered in developing a succession plan for the company.

            Another model that can be used to explain succession planning is Santorum’s Relay Succession Planning. In this model, the Chief Executive Officer of an organization is supposed to pass the baton to a successor over a long period. Research shows that those companies that have adopted this model were observed to perform better because successors were exposed to corporate challenges and were able to deal with such challenges before the succession stage. Another advantage of this model is that the successor receives the baton during the tenure of the current Chief Executive Officer and, therefore, receives training. Therefore, relay succession planning has the advantage of giving potential successor the much-needed experience.

            This model would however not work well for a company looking for an external successor. This is because the external successor, though would have the benefit of bringing in fresh ideas to the business, would not have the opportunity to work under the current CEO of the company.

Summary

            Succession planning has everything to do with the future of the company. Proper planning will ensure a smooth transition of the after the exit of the current leadership. Succession planning is more than planning the exit of the current leadership. It goes further to look into the future of the business. It involves developing working systems that will ensure the business entity continues even after the current managers’ exit and continue to do so effectively.

 There are several succession plans available for companies. These include looking for a successor internally, looking for a successor externally. A company may also opt to sell out to another company all go into liquidation, or rather wind up and sell all its assets.

 There are several challenges facing succession planning in Singapore. These challenges determine the success or not of any company. Some of these challenges have to do with lack of requisite knowledge by those involved in succession planning. Some of them have to do with human resource development. Such include talent development and skill training. There are also those that involve technology that has to do with automation of a company’s operations.

 The way forward for succession planning is educating companies on the need for succession planning and sensitizing them on the new trends. There is the need to build strong processes to overcome the challenges envisaged in planning for a succession. It should be formalized and include talent development and skill training. Automation will also form an essential part of succession planning.

            Technology forms an essential part of succession training. It is important for leaders to be up to date with current innovations in technology while formulating a succession plan so as to make sure that the company attains a competitive advantage over the rest. This should be done in mind that ignoring technology could mean the death of the business entity. Potential successors should be acquainted with the modern technological developments so that they can run the business in the current market trends.

            Succession planning has to put in mind the human resource requirements of the company. Both current and future manpower needs of the company should be taken into consideration while developing a succession plan.

            The survival of the company should be the focus of any succession plan. Planners should focus on the future of the business while thinking of an effective succession plan. Those involved need to have the future of the business in mind when working out a succession plan. It is vital that planners work towards a smooth transition while developing a workable succession plan.

 There remains a research gap for succession planning. The place of technology needs to be the point of focus while thinking about a succession plan. It is also vital to find out why many companies have not put a succession plan in place despite knowing the significance of such a plan towards the existence of the company as well as efficient operations in the company. This research gap should form the point of study for the researchers so as to suggest how effectively succession plans can be taken up by companies.

            Two theories or models have been used to explain succession planning. These are Scharmer’s U model that consists of five movement stages, namely, co-initiating, co-sensing, presencing, co-creating and co-evolving. On the other hand, there is Santorum’s Relay Succession Model that suggests passing the baton over a long period.

Conclusion

 Succession planning is a vital component of any company’s strategic plan. One fails to comprehend why many companies have failed to put in place effective succession plans despite having knowledge of the need to have one. It is observed that most leaders acknowledge that succession planning forms a pivotal role in a company’s corporate plan. However, these companies are unwilling to put in place successive effective plans.

            According to available research, planning for leadership succession should be part and parcel of the way a company should be managed. This process involves grooming potential leaders (Avelino & Rotmans, 2009). This process takes time and companies need to invest time and resources. Leadership succession should not be something that comes as an afterthought for companies but should be entrenched in the company‚Äôs strategic plan.

            There are many options available for companies conducting a succession. They can choose to have an internal successor or an external one. Whichever plan the company chooses, there are merits and demerits. Therefore, a company should choose a plan that best suits its needs. However, businesses should focus more on the sustenance of the business rather than wind up. Selling of the business should not also be considered as an option if a company has a proper succession plan in place. Those starting up businesses should have the future of such businesses in mind before they even start.

 It is possible to create successful businesses that go on to generation after generation, and this requires adequate planning. Without proper planning, such businesses are doomed to failure. As the Chinese proverb states, “a person who does not worry about the future will shortly have worries about the present.” Many companies are not planning about their succession, and therefore, executives need to think deeply about better successful plans that will ensure sustenance of their companies, so they stand the test of time and run for generations.

            The future of any company lies in how effectively such a company adopts a succession plan. Failure to establish a succession plan could insinuate that the business is on its way to closure. A business that does not adopt an effective succession plan may not have a future especially in the current market trends for businesses. The global opening means that many companies will have to deal with competition not only from local competitors but also international ones. Those that do not give serious time and resources to proper planning will either have to wind up or sell out. Companies will have to change their strategies for succession planning to survive in the market. Succession should be a core strategy in the business model for any company (Amburg et al. 2011).

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