In a global survey of hundreds of business executives, 86% of respondents rated leadership development as the highest-priority issue facing their company. Yet only 13% believed they were “excellent” at developing leaders at all levels, and less than half were confident in their ability to maintain a consistent succession plan.
Contingency Planning for Leadership Changes
Changes in leadership, especially unplanned ones, can put stress on a company. Should a sudden change in leadership arise—whether due to a death, disability, or simply a team member’s decision to leave—it helps to have a plan for filling their role.
Every job position requires a certain skillset, so you should clearly define that skill set for each key role, as well as how it fits into the system at your dealership.
This isn’t unlike the way great sports teams are run. Players are chosen for specific skills that fit into a winning system. Great players make a difference, but if they have to sit out, the coach knows how to fill their role.
Informing employees of their succession potential
Many auto dealerships have informal or verbal plans in place for identifying future leaders and preparing high-potential employees for advancement. By creating a more formal succession plan for your auto dealership, you can make high-potential employees aware of their value and show that you are committed to grooming them for upward mobility. This helps retain talented employees and motivate them to further develop their skills.
If you have a specific individual in mind to take your place as dealership owner and operator, it goes without saying that you should be preparing them, ideally on a daily basis, to assume the role. They’ll also need to build a successful track record to be approved by the auto manufacturer(s) as a franchise owner.
Filling roles with external talent
It’s important to leave open the option to fill roles by hiring new talent, with skill sets and criteria defined for each role. Furthermore, when you fill roles with internal talent, you create a gap in another part of your company, so you may need a combination of internal promotion and external hiring to build the most effective leadership safety net.