So you got the promotion you’ve been wishing for and you’re stepping into the new job. Good for you! Meantime, customers are calling in and asking for the “you of yesterday.” But instead of getting to talk to the Mr. Reliable of yesterday that knew all of their business and handled their account without a hitch, they get “Mr. or Ms. Today” who just stepped in to your previous job and doesn’t quite know how to do it as good as you did for so many years. Who suffers? For one thing, the customer does. Also behind the eight-ball is the person who took your old job. They’re now dealing with frustrated customers who are used to a smooth-running machine but are now dealing with one in need of a serious tune up!

This is why the concept of succession planning is so important. It is all too often overlooked, but it is a critical element that can definitely affect the progress and success of the overall company. The task of training someone or even several possible people to someday take over your job should be written into every job description. Every job is an important element in the overall scheme of things, and when it is time for someone to move up or even out in many instances, a competent replacement needs to be ready to step right in to keep things running smoothly.

So for every position, one or two days a month should be spent having one or two people “shadowing” you as you go about your daily responsibilities so that these people can eventually learn all the aspects of your job. Many people do not like this concept because it makes them feel “replaceable” and somewhat less secure, but ultimately the replaceable person is made more promotable. I have seen many excellent people who are never promoted because the company simply does not have a suitable replacement to step into their current position.

So, if you don’t have someone in your company who can step in to take your place tomorrow, don’t view this as a good thing by thinking that you are irreplaceable and therefore your job is more secure. Instead, think of it as a possible impediment to your next promotion. The next thing to do is to talk to management about the task of training possible replacements for your position, and then you are in a better overall position to earn that next promotion.

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