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Who’s in charge tomorrow?

Tom Wall Published on 01 November 2011

Earlier this year, after almost 10 years of searching, the U.S. military finally got Osama bin Laden. Through a combination of observing, strategizing, communicating, planning, training, waiting and executing, U.S. Navy Seals “Team Six” brought the world’s most sought-after terrorist to justice ... a great day for the United States military and the safety of the entire world.

However, as most people would agree, al-Qaida’s presence around the world doesn’t end with the demise of its top leader. And although we can appreciate that bin Laden is now gone, unfortunately, his death won’t diminish the terror organization’s desire to continue recruiting and building its terrorist network.

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But just as evil-doers continue to develop and plan for their future, fortunately, so do the good guys. Every day, the United States military and intelligence department continue to seek and develop courageous leaders dedicated to defending our freedom.

So how are you currently developing your team and planning for the future? When it comes to succession planning, are you actively thinking about it, or do you try to avoid the conversation each time your banker and other advisers bring it up?

All too often, when the conversation turns to developing an organization’s future leaders, it seems that most people would prefer to sidestep the issue rather than actually address it. Sure, we acknowledge it.

But succession planning usually doesn’t make its way to the top of the “future business needs” list. Maybe it’s because you can’t imagine letting go, retiring or passing away ... and that’s completely understandable. But regardless of why you choose to avoid the unavoidable, every day the future is slowly creeping up on the present.

And while time continues to tick away, many managers and owners genuinely think they’re grooming the future of their business. But the truth is that many of the people in their current roles probably don’t possess the necessary skills or ambition to fulfill their next role and take your company to another level.

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And you know what? That’s OK ... for now. As long as your people are fulfilling their current responsibilities, all is well. But I’d imagine you’ve already noticed that the world you work in is constantly changing. And as your business and the market changes, so must you and your leaders.

Today it might be fine that your “future leaders” aren’t currently being challenged to grow. But how prepared will they be when you need them to step it up and take charge? Will they be ready when the time comes? Or will they merely be another good employee who’s willing to work long hours?

Hopefully you and your future leaders are working each day to improve your skills of observing, strategizing, communicating, planning, training and executing. Regardless of what your job is, the more you do it, the better you should become.

But at the same time, if you’re not challenging yourself to reach past your current limitations, tomorrow you’ll be in the same place as you are today. And if that sounds like a description that fits your up-and-coming leaders, the future of your company might just be in trouble. PD

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Tom Wall
President
Dairy Interactive, LLC

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