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Don, Succession Planning & Conversation #5

Updated: May 29

Don's exploration into succession planning has led him through four conversations where he has learned:

  • The impact of his business that should continue

  • The values that have brought the business’s success

  • How to move toward those values and

  • The importance of trust on his leadership team

The fifth conversation will center on building a team with the best talent available. Sports relay teams that don’t have the fastest runners rarely win. Although speed is important, endurance over the long haul matters.

The team discusses how finding the best people to build the company can be challenging since the most talented people in the industry are often unavailable or unaffordable. One of the team rehearses how his friend Gary (read here) looks for people who have:

  • Had a job from an early age

  • Have been competitive in sports

  • Worked their way through college

Another team member talks about his friend Mark uses the same criteria but adds:

  • they have worked on a farm, the army or the bush

Mark’s reasoning is that if they have worked on a farm, the army or the bush, they are not afraid of long days. They can put up with being cold, wet and dirty. And if something breaks, they will fix it!

Everyone has a good laugh, but they also agree that hiring people with the potential to become top performers is very important.

We often refer to hiring and promoting employees for their future potential to as “hiring for potential,” and involves looking beyond a candidate’s current skill set and experience, and instead evaluating their potential to learn and grow on the job.

When hiring for potential, employers may look for candidates who:

  1. Live out the company’s values

  2. Are eager to learn and develop new skills

  3. Have a growth mindset and will embrace challenges and feedback

  4. Have a strong work ethic and a willingness to take initiative

  5. Demonstrate a track record of success in other areas of their lives, such as academics, athletics, or volunteer work

  6. Can think creatively and solve problems independently

Hiring for potential can be a cost-effective way to build a strong team of top performers, as it allows you to invest in and develop talent over time. It is important to ensure that candidates have the foundational skills and qualities necessary for success in the role, as well as a clear path for growth and development within the organization.

Like Gary and Mark, you may define and look for people who have particular life experiences and grab them for your team.

Another part of conversation five is to evaluate the present team members for their future fit in the company. Some great questions for their consideration:

  • Has the leadership team agreed on the core values?

  • Do all the leaders agree and live these core values?

  • Does each member of the leadership team have a personal development plan for developing the knowledge and skills to excel in their role?

As a person of potential, you are qualified to see potential in others. Go for it!

Harry T. Jones

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