Lucas Oil paid big bucks to for the naming rights to the field where the Indianapolis Colts play football — but that didn’t stop an awful lot of fans from calling it “The House that Peyton Built.”
That’s because the Colts had arguably the best quarterback to have every played professional football. I watched him lead his Colts over my Kansas City Chiefs by never holding even one offensive huddle and called every play at the line of scrimmage while nearly 80,000 crazed fans screamed at the top of their lungs to prevent his players from hearing his audibles. Peyton Manning, much to my chagrin, demonstrated to every fan watching why he is considered one of the game’s greatest ever!
Yet, after the 2012 NFL season’s final regular game the Colt’s terminated Vice President/General Manager Chris Polian. After putting together an incredible run of successful years, including many playoff games and the first Super Bowl Championship to Indianapolis, the GM was fired. Why?
The reason given by the Colts’ owner Jim Irsay was that the GM had failed to have a succession plan, a backup plan, for his quarterback. What’s incredible is that even after Manning had experienced three neck surgeries, no one wondered whether he would be able to throw the ball – much less return to his once great status – after recovery.
The GM, after being dismissed, admitted that he had, in fact, made a huge mistake. He simply had no backup plan in the event that one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks could not make a return.
There is a great lesson here for every construction owner and leader.
We always must be prepared for the inevitable…people do “quit performing” at some point! Whether this involves a key person leaving on his or her own, retiring or being terminated, do we have a backup plan?
Succession planning is the process most associated with companies trying to prepare for the future. It requires a willingness to honestly look at our workforce, especially those positions that are critical to our firm’s success, and identifying a backup plan in case those currently in the roles would no longer be available.
Succession planning is growing on most firms’ employee and leadership “radar” because as an industry, we’re getting older, in larger numbers than ever. A growing number of construction companies are realizing that they might be seeing a significant percentage of their most-experienced and most-knowledgeable workers and leaders exiting...and soon!
So, what are we to do to maintain a strong, consistent and smooth transition of excellence for our companies when it comes to preparing for individuals who will be leaving our employment?
Over the next week give some thought to your company’s succession plans. First, do you even have any plan? Hopefully you do, but in any case just put together a list of three to five steps you have already taken concerning succession planning. In fact, while you’re still reading this set down your coffee cup, pull out a pad of paper and just write down the first two or three things that have already popped into your mind. Keep the notepad handy and add to it throughout the week as new thoughts come to mind.
Compare your list with my list of 10 company-saving tips based on years of work with contractors facing succession planning issues. I hope there will be a lot of overlap. Then see what else you can do to assure a smooth transition for your company.
All this is designed to help you avoid the same “nap” that at least one NFL GM took before it cost him his job — so it won’t cost you yours and it won’t cost you your company!