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"Hiring an outsider masks the hard truth that a company has not developed a pipeline of leaders from among its ranks who can step in and manage the bigger challenges of the day". (Stephen J. Drotter). An organization is like a family or a mini country. The essence of each of these social groups is common identity and goals. These are bounded by culture and tradition. Thus it is essential that the strings that bind them are passed from one generation to another to harness and develop the group to heights previously not achieved. Succession Planning is a method to do that. It is a process of identifying and developing members of the group with the potential to fill key leadership positions as generation progresses. The underlying philosophy to succession-management process is that top talent in an organization must be managed for the greater good of the enterprise. In fashion industry this of utmost importance as brands build loyalty by following certain tradition, tastes and interest. Thus it is essential to develop people who are part of that culture and philosophy that a brand represents, to become its future leaders.
This paper is going to elaborate upon some different facts, and to define; one, why succession planning is important in an organization? And second, why this is crux of an issue in fashion industry?
Succession planning is a process used by small and large companies to provide for the future by ensuring that employees are recruited and trained to fill key role in the company. The company invests in current employees to take over key positions in the event of downsizing in management personnel, retirement, or turnovers. Planning is a key factor in the success of any business, and conversely, the failure to plan adequately is one of the fastest routes to business failure. Leaders are people who give vision and lead an organization. In short planning and leadership are pillars of an organization. This makes succession planning all the more challenging and vital.C:\Users\ivana\Desktop\od2.gif
The picture defines the continuous cycle in an organization. Ideally talents are acquired, filtered through and developed to retain corporate culture and identity once older generation passes on the baton.
"Despite high unemployment levels, businesses are still challenged with finding the right people with the right skills through external recruiting, in part because of growing demand for technical and leadership expertise. At the same time, there are concerns of a talent exodus once the job market strengthens," said Charles Coy. Retaining developed talent is also part of the succession planning process. It requires that the people you have identified as potential leaders have that sense of confidence that organization would best suit their needs and care for them when needed.
For Companies it is essential to take a well-formed approach to succession management, in sustainment of company's mission to nurture and retain the best talent. For facilitating internal processes for learning, development, performance management and succession planning, comprehensive talent management software could be used. "While succession management still requires the involvement of senior leaders, particularly in defining critical roles and key competencies, an interactive, organization-wide, bottom-up process is gaining traction for several reasons: one, improved engagement and retention; career management and career-pathing allow businesses to better engage and retain their people, empowering them to take a more active role in their careers within an organization; two, more candid discussions between managers and employees. An interactive process enables managers to have more candid performance discussions with employees, providing coaching and identifying development opportunities based on a person's career aspirations; three, increased transparency. It also creates organizational transparency, helping employees to better understand the criteria they need to meet and gaps that must be addressed before moving to the next level".
Need for Succession Planning in Fashion Industry
Fashion is defined as a style of dress that is popular during a certain time or era or culture. It often changed and reflected a persons' social class in olden days. In modern times fashion has become a reflection of personality or popularity. Fads come and go as people find new and different things to like or interest. Fashion industry is one where fashion or the core changes even faster than seasons, which is very fascinating. "Fashion businesses for over decades have been built on the core principles of rarity and exclusivity - operated with 'supply-creates-demand' psyche". The buzz has always been around the founder. "With the emergence of new contexts, fashion businesses are waking up to the new realities. Increasing competition and high volatility in fashion trends, coupled with emerging market and greater desire of exclusivity, these companies are realizing the need to strike a balance between creativity and business". Although the industry has embraced technology, improvised its supply chain logistics, modified organizational structures, not much change has been witnessed in terms of encouraging the succession planning, once the aura of owner or founder fades away. The industry has a dearth of executives who would and could take the respective fashion house to newer heights. New initiatives and approach for developing creative and business leader is much required.C:\Users\ivana\Desktop\SuccessionPlanningModel.jpg
For companies that must weave high-quality luxury products, brand heritage and appealing style into the customer's sense of identity and do so profitably is a real challenge. Thus finding the right design leaders is a monumental task. Fashion companies increasingly depend on innovation as a differentiator, the design function stands at the intersection of creativity and business. But because the creative element is so strong, it is usually assumed that identifying, evaluating, and recruiting design leaders is largely an intuitive and unique process with few precedents and no guarantees of success. Thus very few houses resort to succession planning and try to draw out established names and creative directors who have niche in the industry. This thought could not be more out of sync. The designers and executives who have developed their identity with a brand are more likely to engulf the personality of the brand than an outsider. Thus succession planning is so much more important in industries where creativity dominates the business structure. Evidence of competency is a very powerful predictor of future performance, but only if it is specifically linked to the particular role and organizational context. Talented people may not succeed everywhere and in everything. It is therefore critical to take a diligent and disciplined approach to the understanding of an organization and its broader business context. Then one can effectively define the key success factors in any executive position, including the design and creative function. The luxury goods and apparel companies around the world need very specific principles for seeking top design talent. This has to be defined by the founder or the current executive. By adhering to these principles when filling top leadership roles in the design function, fashion-intensive companies can greatly increase the chances of finding precisely the talent they need, thus strengthening their DNA and brand endurance.
When the CEO and the artistic director are recruited externally, the brand's future depends on the cohesiveness of this pair: a good relationship is vital for sharing a common vision, serving the same objective, and maintaining and developing the business and the brand equity. Assessing creative talents on both counts, especially on their ability to collaborate with the chief executive requires a thorough knowledge of the brand DNA and destination, what the function covers, and an understanding of the expectations of the CEO and the board. Leadership in the design function of a fashion company goes far beyond the look of the next collection as it impacts marketing, strategy, employee morale, profitability and the brand equity as a whole. "Two things to say about leadership without sounding stupid or exaggerating leaders are important, and secondly there is always a leadership crisis of one kind or another, at any given time; shortage or incompetence, evil, crooked, inadequate, you name it" (Copyright Â© 2000-2010). When the brand is the boss nothing less will do. It for this complex structure we need succession planning in fashion industry.
Succession Planning In Diesel SpA
When I think about succession planning in a fashion industry I imagine how it is going to affect my favorite brand; Diesel. "In order to find new and innovative ways to achieve your goals, you must be open minded and ready to work together", as Diesel industry would say. The designers and executives who have developed their identity with a brand are more likely to engulf the personality of the brand than an outsider. As a team player, we should all assist one another to harness the energy and power of what Diesel fashion can offer. By this, you will find information, motivation, and connection you need to recharge yourself and others, renew your purpose, and maybe even re-write the future. As Diesel founder said "I believe we must give in order to receive" (Renzo Rosso). "By taking advantage of the opportunities and benefits Diesel Company has to offer, we begin to excel in many areas of our lives. It not only helps us improve personally and professionally, but it also allows us to assist others in their success".
The brand Diesel was born more than 20 years ago and is today an innovative international design company, manufacturing jeans and casual clothing as well as accessories. It is present in over 80 countries with 10,000 points of sale and almost 50 company-owned stores.
From the very beginning, Diesel's design team turned their backs on the style-dictators and consumer forecasters of the fashion establishment and let their own tastes lead them. It is for this reason that Diesel immediately became a leader in developing styles, fabrics, manufacturing methods and quality control, guaranteeing an outstanding quality product. The company views the world as a single, border-less macro-culture. And the Diesel staff reflects this: a wide variety of people and personalities from all parts of the globe, creating an unpredictable, dynamic vitality and energy within the company. Diesel people and their working methods are so unconventional, and yet productive, that they have been profiled in countless magazines, newspapers and documentary television programmers, and have been studied by international conglomerates, consulting organizations, universities and business schools. The good thing about Diesel design is that they established trends and the name long time ago. It is largely unaffected by fads occurring within the fashion circles; it is innovative and at times a bit radical. One of the most important things about Diesel is that Diesel collections effectively precede trends and do not respond to them. The focus on independent working methods and strong quality almost seems to translate within the company into an attitude towards living - the Diesel way. The Style and Graphic Offices literally work side by side in one huge open space, a creative group strengthening itself through close collaboration. Leaders and Diesel's stylists come from widely diverse cultures and backgrounds, and they all contribute to the creation of a truly global product. One of the strongest Diesel ideas, how to attract the customers centers, offering on ads is that encourage consumers toÂ "be stupid".Â According to this company if you are stupid,Â you'll create more, you'll get that much closer to genius, You'll make better friends, You'll care less, You'll discover talents you never knew you had, and yes you could die, just not of boredom.
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Diesel's ad is effective in promoting their name through shocking photography which creates a strong emotional response and lasting impression.
Renzo Rosso founded Diesel Company in 1978, he wanted it to be a leader, a company which took chances and carved out a niche for itself in its field. He surrounded himself with creative, talented people - innovators who, like him, rejected the slavish trend-following typical of the fashion industry; not only this, but also, finding a people who are going to keep his name "Diesel" after his retirement. Renzo's idea was to always come up with a more dynamic and imaginative line of clothing than was available anywhere. He gave his open-minded new designers broad stylistic freedom, hoping they could create a line of clothing perfect for people who follow their own independent path in life; people who are not afraid of others judgments. Particularly for those who decide to express their individuality also by the way they dress. Thus he started the succession planning in diesel just after he founded the company for he understood the complex mix required for future propagation of brand. He hired Wilbert Das, a design student straight out of Fashion College, as his future head designer and Creative Director. The company is continuing that trend even today giving opportunities and exposure to young design graduates and teaching them nuances of the business so that on of them can take reins of the company in future and make it a global brand. These leaders are seeded with the thought that - It is my kind of fashion; stylize, crazy and unique and sporty.
Writing this paper I have learnt what are the traits of a good succession planning, its attributes, its perspective of character, the image of a company, the principles and components and most important I have found the answer to the "BIG Question" how can we keep the name and the quality in the continuous life cycle from one generation to the next.
I have learnt how a good leader and good manager can impart their knowledge, skills and attitude to the future leaders. The big role in the company's success, such as Diesel would be how an owner/founder envisioned it, how to be competitive and what to look for the future. Displaying sincerity, integrity, and candor in all actions will inspire trust; Competent Base actions on reason and moral principles and not making decisions based on emotional desires or feelings; Setting goals and having a vision for the future, running throughout the organization. Vision in succession planning effectiveness it is very important, what a company wants and how to get there. As a Diesel manager, for being a leader in industry I would single out precedence's stemming from their fundamental values; Inspiring displaying confidence in all that they do. By showing endurance in mental and physical I will inspire others to reach for new heights. Taking charge when necessary; Intelligent Reading, studying, and seeking challenging assignments is my understanding of what the brand needs. The character is what defines an owner, leader, the "big boss", and I have learnt that a good leader has following character traits: Justice, Judgment, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty, and Endurance. This transforms into the three components of organization- The structure that gives the organization its form and dictates the way it will interact; The followers- who respond to the structure and the leaders; and The leaders - who determine the ultimate effectiveness of the organization as the character and skills that they bring determine the way problems are solved and tasks are accomplished.
Diesel's good practices that I would support, is to surround with creative, talented people - innovators who, rejected the slavish trend-following typical of the fashion industry; not only this, but also, finding a people who are going to keep the name "Diesel". It is very important for me to be an open-minded designer, with broad stylistic freedom, hoping they could create a line of clothing perfect for people who follow their own independent path in life; people who are not afraid of other's judgments. Diesel industry is very unique and amazing quality. Finally the Diesel Company made me to think "What kind of leader I can be - the kind who thinks she is the best? Or will I be one of the very few greats who attribute success to the rest" or keep or make company even better. The answer lies in my actions and subjugations of traits that are withholding me; how can I keep the name and the brand popular and as you unique as it is. As Diesel would say, "Smart listens to the head and stupid listen to the heart".