While succession planning traditionally has a focus on increasing the capacity of emerging leaders, there are often overlooked, but very personal and fulfilling benefits for the incumbent leaders.

Legacy can be overrated.

Some look at succession planning for incumbent leaders as a time to create a legacy. This can be an opportunity to leave a mark on an organization that survives far past their years of employment. However, the term legacy has different connotations for different leaders.

Thinking that legacy is a far-reaching goal for a fast-changing healthcare environment, legacy today can be seen as difficult and a rarely experienced event. A concrete legacy example is buildings named for past leaders, yet whose actual contributions are much harder to remember, making this kind of legacy an allusive concept. If memories of actual contributions and influence on the system are more easy to forget, what is the incumbent leaders’ best result from their succession planning?

The ultimate benefit: self-strategy

Shifting mindsets from legacy to self-strategy as an outcome for succession building can be the ultimate gift for incumbent leaders. This self-strategy will give an incumbent clarity about what they truly care about and what they want to spend their remaining time working on.  It is a transformation from what they want to do, to who they want to be.

When leaders start to formulate what they want to be in their next chapters, they can start to focus how and what they spend their valuable resource of time on. With a clarity of what they are passionate about and who they want to become, incumbent leaders can be more selective on what projects to choose and what to distribute to others. They can focus on truly enjoying their work with activities that bring personal engagement. Perhaps most importantly, the time during succession planning can give incumbents choices they may not have allowed themselves in previous times.

Self-strategy and organization strategy

When incumbent leaders start to make shifts in their mindsets, the benefits of these shifts extend to the emerging leader and to the organization at large. People will start to witness what happens when leaders are at their best. When people witnesses incumbent leaders who are passionate about ideas or projects, they also see incumbent leaders at the pinnacle of their careers. That is not only inspiring, but outcome generating as well.

How to create this shift

Incumbent leaders, those who are planning for retirement or promotion, have the unique opportunity to create a self-strategy for self-transformation: one that is filled with the potential of the greatest engagement period of their professional lives, while increasing the capacity of the next tier of leadership.

In order for this transformation to take place, a skilled leadership coach can help shift succession planning to a polarity approach that is strategic for both the incumbent and emerging leaders. Skilled executive coaches are needed for this kind of multi-pronged approach of individual and team coaching that helps leaders visualize the next chapters for themselves, their teams and the organizations.  While incumbents may be able to get there on their own in time, partnering to create an optimal self-strategy in the most effective and efficient ways is highly recommended.

SixSeed Partners offers a suite of inter-collaborative, interdependent and custom-designed services to increase leader and system-level capacitation within the healthcare industry. Email us at info@sixseedpartners.com to learn how we can help you drive sustainable, transformational change within leaders, teams and entire organizations.

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