Checklist: How to succeed with succession planning in logistics

Josefin Holmqvist
By Josefin Holmqvist
3 min. read

The exponential growth of the logistics industry is hardly surprising news. With the flourishing e-commerce landscape and the enduring impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviors, it's evident that significant shifts are underway. One thing that is certain is that in a rapidly changing industry experiencing significant growth, it is crucial to work on succession planning. Certainly, this will play a crucial role in determining whether a business succeeds or fails in this rapidly changing environment.

1. Breaking down the pyramids

A company's evaluation often hinges on two key factors: delivery and treatment. Think about the last time you felt annoyed by a company – was it because they didn't meet their promises or treated you poorly?

The individuals closest to the customer shape the company's image and significantly influence the customer experience. It's crucial to empower those with a direct impact on customer satisfaction. If you've promoted individuals with the right values, the benefits for the company can be substantial. Therefore, consider breaking down hierarchical structures!

2. Ensuring a proper safety net

Implementing a safety net helps mitigate the impact of potential missteps, ensuring that errors are identified early, preventing adverse consequences. Engaging a staffing provider with expertise at every level of the succession chain enhances this safety net. Team members well-versed in each role possess a comprehensive understanding of the challenges encountered at different levels, facilitating immediate and effective support. Consulting someone nearby in the chain, with similar experiences, becomes more seamless, eliminating the need for extensive explanations and ensuring prompt and accurate assistance.

3. Having a successor ready

Always be prepared with a successor – disrupting the succession chain leads to inevitable chaos. Imagine running a smooth operation, and suddenly, you urgently require the manager of your dry goods division for a side project. To keep the project momentum, you swiftly relocate the manager. However, if there's no ready successor, how long before chaos ensues? It's not a matter of if but when.

Adopt a "bottom-up" approach, establishing a proactive safety net. Involve potential successors in training, regularly assess and support their development. Having a robust plan pays off when relocation becomes necessary. This ensures a seamless transition, and the person stepping into the vacant role will find it a natural progression, contributing to overall organizational stability.

4. Don't punish – encourage success

When was the last time you heard of an IT department receiving accolades for a server that worked flawlessly all day? Chances are, it's a rare occurrence. As a logistics professional, you likely share a similar challenge. In the logistics realm, it's easy to fixate on what's amiss, especially since clients often emphasize such issues.

However, as a leader in the logistics industry, you don't have to adopt the same approach. Long-term performance doesn't thrive under constant negativity. Instead, acknowledge commendable work, promote positive behavior, and elevate those who excel in their roles. Shifting focus to what is going well will propel your team forward.

Highlight the value each employee brings, motivating them to give their best, resulting in career development. This approach guarantees a straightforward method to ensure your entire team operates at their optimal level.

5. It's the individual who decides

Indeed, it all comes down to the individual's choices. Despite your best efforts as a manager, some employees may not meet your expectations. Courageously initiate the conversation, assess the cost, and confront the discomfort when expectations are unmet. In the long term, this approach yields significant benefits.

Your focus should be on creating an environment conducive to individuals who not only meet but exceed your expectations, contributing to the company's growth at a faster and superior pace compared to competitors.

While it can be disheartening when employees fall short, the satisfaction derived from witnessing numerous successes outweighs the disappointments. This collective achievement ultimately enhances the organization in various ways, with the majority of your employees proving to be a source of joy and accomplishment.

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