Succession Planning


You may well have identified your future leaders.  But...are you continuing to have Succession Planning conversations, are you following up every time a future leader stumbles, and is everyone in your company involved with preparing others to take over their position or develop new expertise? Test your commitment to Succession Planning. identifying and planning for your future leaders

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.  --Goethe

The first part of succession is success.  Succession planning is a product of success over time.  A successful company’s leadership team has, at a specific moment in time, mastered its domain.  The leadership team’s careers have evolved often because of hard-earned lessons of persistence and grit.  The strong personality is rewarded.  Sometimes, egos are large. The paradox is that the leadership team must continue to evolve, so mastery of the moment is not sufficient for sustainability.

People change, and so do markets, products, customers, the business environment, and health.  Mastery, being a state of mind, is temporary at best. Leaders who are focused on sustainability know that succession planning is an essential part of the long-term plan and legacy.

We have learned that effective succession planning can only happen when it is integrated into a company’s culture, over time. In addition to identifying and mentoring high-potential successors, the leaders must develop the new skill of letting go, which usually feels  dangerous and threatening.  An experienced coach can hold the leader to the task, over time, both of letting go and of creating a sustainable legacy organization. We help leaders start this process, and we help sustain the process.

Succession Planning for CEO and Executive Team

Role of Coaching:  Reinforcing the Foundation of Leadership

  1. Align strategic objectives with leadership vision.

  2. Help identify successors, high-potentials and candidates for advancement (assessment, behavior models, feedback, and accountability).

  3. Coach and support successors to prepare for transitions, undergo the ordeal of change and shift their thinking and behavior to function effectively in higher-level positions.  This could include re-creating or re-clarifying inherited visions and business practices.

  4. Help identify potential breakdowns and disruptions during transition and develop strategies for maximizing strengths and minimizing vulnerabilities.

  5. Help leaders practice letting go, repeatedly, over time.

Succession Planning for the Small or Family-Owned Business

Role of Coaching:  Perpetuating the Entrepreneurial Achievement

  1. Help define the vision and core or essence of the business.

  2. Clarify the needs of the owner, business and important participants.

  3. Determine who has the values and the capabilities to perpetuate the owner’s vision.

  4. Develop successors in preparation for taking over and growing the business.

  5. Support owners to stick with the process of letting go, leaving their legacy behind.

Succession Planning as a Cultural Process

Role of Coaching:  Provide Systems Thinking, Reflection and Accountability

  1.   Help clients understand their organizational culture and make optimum cultural changes.

  2. Work with clients to clarify job descriptions for all key positions and to assess characteristics of key people.

  3. Coach people to leave their positions, either through promotion or retirement, and be proud of what they are leaving to their successors.  Coach candidates to close any gaps in skills, thinking, behavior and style.

  4. Instill structure for coaching and on-going transfer of knowledge within the organization.

Let’s have a conversation about ways you can focus on sustainability through succession planning.