1. Hader, Richard RN, PhD, CNA, CHE, CPHQ, Editor-in-Chief

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Do you wonder who'd fill your role if you changed your job, got promoted, or retired? Are you ever frustrated because you feel you're the only one who's capable of completing a specific task? Have you afforded others the opportunity to assume greater responsibility? You probably don't give much thought to these questions until you're unable to attend an important meeting or are overwhelmed because you haven't delegated certain assignments.


Ignite new leaders

An essential business strategy, a succession plan benefits your organization by providing a smooth transition and decreasing departmental turmoil during leadership changes. Choosing a successor will allow you to delegate daily tasks so you can better focus on providing strategic direction for your area of responsibility. Your potential successor will benefit from your mentoring, while simultaneously mapping his or her career path.


First, identify staff members whom you can begin to groom. Select someone who has the same work ethic, philosophy, motivation, and commitment to the organization as you do. You can mentor your candidate in the knowledge and skills required for the position, but his or her attitude is the most critical component to the undertaking's success.


Remember to expose your protege to the varied aspects of your role. Just as in developing any other talent, practice is essential. Invite your candidate to represent you on various committees, lead staff meetings, make critical decisions, and interact with other leaders in the organization.


Your supervisor and colleagues not only need to be informed of your plan, they also need to agree to it. Without their input and acceptance, the plan won't work. Convey its benefits to them and seek their assistance in providing opportunities to help your potential successor develop leadership skills.


The burning question

Is the timing right? Timing is one of a succession plan's most challenging and risky aspects. Developing your candidate invests him or her with skills that are attractive to potential employers-before you're ready to step down. Two years ago, a hospital in my health system recruited my potential successor to assume its Chief Nurse Executive role. Although it was difficult to see her go, it was rewarding to know I participated in preparing her for future challenges.


As the Olympic season nears, we're reminded that passing the torch is a team objective, which hails a future display of strength, potential, and maximized efforts to achieve consistent outcomes. Take this opportunity to pass the torch and begin reaping the benefits of mentoring your high performers.