Your company works because of the business savvy and institutional knowledge of everyone on your team. To successfully transfer your business to new leadership, you have to transfer that knowledge. The tricky thing is that not all of the magic resides in your brain—everyone who works for you, regardless of position, has a piece of the puzzle.
So, how do you find and document all the information the future leaders need?
Employee surveys, customer surveys, and full SWOT analyses (“SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) can only take you so far. These are all important parts of the strategic planning process, but I’d like to suggest doing something different as well.
Instead of just collecting information and analyzing it with your central leadership team, really talk to people—and listen. Listen more than you talk, so that your employees feel empowered to speak freely. These conversations give you an opportunity to get the perspectives of others so you can develop a holistic understanding of the company together.
This process–gathering information, exploring and sharing different perspectives, and then organizing and prioritizing the results—should sound familiar; it is the foundation of good strategic planning. It is also a great way to gather the information your successors need to get a good start to their own strategic planning process.
- You probably don’t personally know all the components of your business’s success, but you need to find that information so you can pass it on.
- Traditional planning tools, such as employee surveys and SWOT analyses, are important, but do not provide complete understanding.
- Take the time to talk with all of your employees, no matter what their positions are, and ask for their perspective on the company. Then listen.