You never know who’s a ‘heartbeat away.’
With every presidential election, the hype of the veepstakes seems to reach new heights. Even though succession has only come into play nine times in America’s history (barring a temporary pass of power), it is a pivotal issue on voter’s mind in ’08. Is McCain’s age a liability? Is Obama a marked man because of his race? Jobacle has no clue. What we do know is that important posts are vacated all of the time – most frequently, at your office. The difference is you don’t get the comfort of a line of succession.
The president gets replaced by the vice president; then the Speaker of the House; then the president pro tempore of the Senate; then by the Secretary of State; and so on. You and your boss? You get replaced by ???
While it’s nothing you should put too much stock into, examining who could potentially fill your boss’ role, or even a colleagues’, is a smart, forward-thinking play that is highly recommended. The odds of turnover at your gig are much greater than the president croaking. And changes at your job will likely have a greater impact on your life.
To better understand your company’s ‘Succession Act,’ here’s what you need to do.
THE REPLACEMENTS. Whether your boss has been with the company 20 days or 20 years, between the personal job hunt and never-ending reorganizations, everyone is a candidate to move on. You need to scout out who the potential replacements are and recognize how a change in leadership could affect your job.
ODDS OF DEPARTURE. There’s no sure bet, but accumulating data about your boss and other head honchos will help you prepare for the comings and goings of others. Questions to get answered: How old is your boss? How long have they held their current position? What’s turnover often like? It’s also a good exercise to analyze your boss’ job and his/her boss. Would you hang around?
EXTERNAL. Do your research and find out if your company often replaces people from within – or if they reach to outside sources. This will help you better understand your path within the company, and have you prepared for the wildcard (a new boss you know nothing about).
Many factors and variables are out of your control and not for you to understand or have knowledge of. Don’t overanalyze – but make the potential of your boss exiting a consideration; in both your current job and when considering a new employment opportunity.
Understanding the chain of command (and the order of succession) is important. Many companies have flow charts that you can uncover with enough digging around. More important, is the unofficial stuff: Who’s related to who? The extra perks your boss gets, etc.
JOBALCE REMINDER: Never put all of your eggs into one basket. You should establish enough healthy relationships within the organization so that you are not tied too tightly with your boss. It’s great to have an awesome relationship, but you are an individual and need to give yourself every opportunity to be viewed as such.
Your boss might end up being shown the door before review time. What if he/she is the only person who truly is aware of your accomplishments? Keep a log and be ready to share this information with the next person in line. They might not fight as hard for you, but at least it won’t be a total loss.
Turnover is a fact of life. Accept it. Prepare for it. And cope with it. It will happen. Will you be ready?
When you’re picking a president, you could also be choosing his replacement. Choose wisely, and as the kids say, ‘Rock the Vote.’