If you plan to live and work forever, then you don’t need to read any further.

However, if you are a business owner or executive and would like to retire at some point, please read on.

You need a business succession plan. And, if you haven’t already, you should get to work creating one.

A succession plan ensures that your business has the right person selected and trained to replace someone who leaves the organization. For example, if you retire as the president of a company, a succession plan guarantees that the transition to the new president will be seamless. All the training and groundwork will be in place ahead of time.

Think of it as a batting order in baseball, a game won’t run smoothly if the team is scrambling to see who the next batter is, who should be on deck.

Succession planning is a concept that is really flying high on the radar of HR professionals as 55% said they are going to put more emphasis on succession planning and people readiness while another 21% said they intend to over the next 12 months.

There is a lot of work that’s needed to ensure you have a thorough succession plan in place. It’s a recipe and you need the key ingredients for success.

Here’s what the Velsoft production team say are the key ingredients.

We must be a part of a learning organization.

Succession planning is about developing leaders. In order to do that, we have to belong to an organization where education is valued and where it is supported from the top, all the way down through each layer.

Succession planning does not exist in a vacuum.

Succession planning is a process that has to incorporate the other areas of the organization in order to support the business.

Develop reliable data gathering.

Succession planning must be demonstrated scientifically, which is impossible if we see it as a strictly creative process (although there is creativity required). Data gathering means that the organization is looking at benchmarks and actual results to measure and assess progress.

Have senior level support.

The CEO or President must endorse and support the succession planning process. The CEO must be involved and be an active participant. When the CEO is highly engaged, the program becomes coherent and embraced.

Continually assess your results.

If you do not assess the quality of performance within the organization, you will not learn the level of success – or failure – that the plan holds. We know that succession planning is a long-term endeavor, and so we must ensure that the right people are in the right jobs without losing our focus on performance.

You do not have to do it all at once.

One major threat to succession planning is that implementation over a short period of time can overwhelm systems and people. Step-by-step implementation will allow you to experience success in one area and demonstrate to other areas how effective the process is, while allowing the important work to take place.

These ingredients need to be blended correctly and that doesn’t happen overnight. Phased implementation of the plan, following the appropriate period of candidate selection and training, ensure the result is seamless.