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Can you multitask?

A recent Grant Thornton review found that only 35% of boards effectively communicate how they tackle the risk around succession.

We are routinely engaged to support senior management teams with succession planning, transformation projects, growth and exit planning.

More often than not there is a unwritten plan for succession in the key roles, but this is not routinely tested. We recommend that you encourage your senior team to multitask. By this we mean, engage with our teams, departments or associated businesses on those project that are for mutual benefit, such as the roll out of initiatives or new marketing messaging.

The skills picked up working collaboratively are valuable, they test your team building and leadership and develop your wider corporate skillset. It’s our experience that this group of multitaskers will create the next generation of senior leaders.

Of course you want to have someone capable of performing your role ready to go? Who covers your duties whilst you are on holiday, for example? Does your business operate on half steam when you take a break? or do you never switch off and take calls by the pool. Either way, that is not healthy for you or the business.

So why are only 35% of boards tackling succession effectively.. why so low ?

Effective succession planning is not merely identifying the candidates with potential to fill a target role. It involves engaging those candidates in projects outside of their current role where their skills will be specifically developed to suit the target role.

We see this working best when the board or senior management teams can multitask. What we mean here is the team members are “dynamic”, they have a pretty good ability to cover for each other on common or less technical areas of responsibility.

Beware of those who push back

You will of course get some push back, it requires effort and some managers will not want the hassle. Make it happen. Getting managers away from their team, stretches that team and pushing everyone to achieve.

Commercial empathy & business intelligence

This multitasking not only provides cover for holiday periods etc but it builds “commercial empathy” across the functional departments and teams making company wide project work more engaged and ultimately the business has the ability to grow by transforming one project at a time in a systematic, tried and tested fashion where all teams are invested in the project success.

Of course not all multitasking is advised…..

What the ROI?

The return on investment in time spent developing this multitasking ability in your team is two-fold:

1) succession ideas – you get a testing ground for your succession ideas and

2) manager development – an engaged team of “commercially empathetic” managers will become better at decision making within their own team following the enlightenment gained on a company-wide project, not only about the wider business but an improved lens on how their team fits into the overall customer experience.

3) recognition – the managers will naturally feel recognised if they are included on company wide projects.

If you would like to know more about building commercially empathetic senior management teams and developing your succession plans, please contact us at

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