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Succession planning - backup for essential skills

I have the pleasure of working with people who have not had paid work for some time due to either parenting/caring responsibilities, or in some cases redundancy. They are a very diverse group of individuals  from those who have had well-paid executive jobs through to those who have had little work experience. They certainly teach me as much as I teach them about the world we live in.

They have one thing in common which is the determination to succeed. They are all looking at opening a business linked to a particular technical skill they have.  The application of their technical skill is the easy part of their business. It is the business skills of finance, marketing, sales, IT and HR alongside their personal skills, values and required behaviours which will dictate their business success. If any of these are absent from the mix, their self-employed success dream will remain just that.

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Why do we need professional succession planning?

Working life seems to be going at an ever increasing pace. The joys of competition mean constant change. Customer demand is increasing through rising customer communications and awareness. Crazy change is here to stay!

When I got into sales and negotiations work some time back now, I learned something very early on, and that was that if I HAD to have a deal I was vulnerable. The best sales guys seemed not to NEED the sale. When you need a deal, others seem to sense your vulnerability and in turn begin to apply pressure on you. The best bit of preparation for any negotiation is to prepare somewhere to go if the negotiation fails. Then you know you can walk away to somewhere positive. Roger Fisher and William L. Ury in their classic ‘Getting to Yes’ call this a BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement).

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Leading a great team event

We know we can’t control the emotional state of others but we can definitely influence them by creating the right thinking environment and developing our own leadership behaviours in support.  We have already looked at how, as leaders, we can create generative thinking by designing the best climate for thinking in the team. But leading a great team event is a particularly strong challenge. Leaders also need to look at themselves and consider whether they behave in the best possible way to create a positive climate in the team.

Employee surveys provide a rich source of leadership feedback and a snapshot of the current culture.  I have used these surveys during leadership programmes to explore the real engagement in the team and what the team is telling their leader. This analysis raises important questions:

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