Business Succession Planning: Becoming the Workplace No One Wants To Leave

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What is Business Succession Planning?

Planning for both the foreseen and unexpected absences of people who hold key positions in an organization is a task that employers often avoid or engage in only informally. Worse yet, we sometimes limit the planning to the “C-Suite.”

Without a concentrated effort on succession planning strategy, a business that has been successful can quickly fail if one or more of its key employees are lost. Succession planning must be a priority for every business and should be part of its strategic business plan. 

Why is it important?

Leader’s abilities have not changed but the business environment has. According to a survey conducted by Gartner for Improving Leadership Bench Strength

Most organizations expect more than 40% of their leadership roles to be significantly different within five years.
At the same time, 85% expect an increase in the number of job responsibilities.
Companies that create an effective Succession Planning process:
  • Quickly anticipate and fill succession gaps
  • Identify employees with high management potential and actively plan their careers
  • Align their “people strategy” with their “business strategy”
  • An organization’s ability to meet these requirements creates the kind of leadership and management capacity that delivers sustainable business results.

How Ed Krow Helps You Create Your Succession Plan

My Succession Plans address both short-term emergency vacancies, as well as long-term retirement vacancies. As such, your senior management team will be consulted to determine the priorities and timeline of the training and development plans.

I also include a coaching element for the incumbents, which assists them in effectively implementing the Succession Plan. The input of the current key executives is critical to this process. The development plans designed must account for the ability to solve tomorrow’s problems. The value of the incumbents’ wisdom and years of experience with the organization cannot be understated.

The goal of this process is not to make current management replaceable, but to secure future leaders and the continuity, continued growth, and success of our clients.

I always encourage my clients to plan for both current AND future skills needs and to integrate the succession planning process with other human resources initiatives, such as performance management and organizational development.

I develop succession plans by working with your senior management team to identify high-potential employees, evaluate and hone their skills and abilities, and prepare them for advancement into positions that are key to the success of business operations and objectives.

Ultimately, organizations need to find ways to help their high-potential, future leaders balance their work and personal lives. Generational influences also impact employees’ views on career and talent development. Smart companies consider these items when developing their organizational structures.

It is important to remember throughout the succession planning process that succession planning can be used to fill lateral positions as well.

Click here to download 5 benefits of early succession planning.


Step 1

Identify legal and diversity issues to consider.

Step 2

Establish present and future leadership roles and objectives.

Step 3

Select key employees.

Step 4

Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and readiness for succession in key employees.

Step 5

Plan for the individual talent development of and ways to retain key employees.

Step 6

Identify “emergency” positions without successors.

Step 7

Plan for positions that cannot be filled internally.

Key Questions to Ask

  • “What does my company value most about its leadership?”
  • “What improvements would I like to see?”
  • “What is our philosophy about leadership?”
  • “What leadership skills are crucial to company success?”

How Ed Has Helped Other Businesses Create Their Succession Plans

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“An engaged culture is one of the most important things to our company. We take it very seriously and work on it intentionally. But one thing we haven’t done well is compensation.

That’s why we brought Ed in. He really got to know the culture and understood the company, and he created a comprehensive, effective compensation plan perfect for our company’s needs.

I highly recommend Ed to other business owners who want someone that gets to know the company, understands what’s important, and delivers on it.”

Bill Biesecker

CEO, HairDirect

“Our organization was struggling with attracting the candidates we needed. We started working with Ed, and he had some unique ideas and insights into how we could do better with recruitment, our HR processes, and the structure of the department.

The plan Ed gave us was detailed and felt realistic, like a really good roadmap we could actually use. I was impressed with his work, his professionalism, and his ability to make a strong assessment of our HR processes and come back with concrete ideas and plans for us to review and incorporate.”

Mike Enriquez

CEO, OSS Health

“Our management leadership training wasn’t exciting or engaging enough to get our managers to take the message out of the training with them. Ed came in, understand our needs, UTZ-ified the message, and most importantly delivered it in a way that made people listen and care. He is a seasoned professional who delivered his message with a mix of realism and humor, and it made me look like a rockstar when I brought him on. Managers listened to him, believed him, and most importantly he was able to make them leave with the content and the exact message we wanted to send.”

Tom Scholles

Director of HR, UTZ Foods, LLC

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