CEO Succession Planning

Our business psychologists guide you through a proven succession planning process so you can rest assured that the CEO seat will always be filled by the right executive. 

CEo woman

When the CEO announces they are stepping down, it’s too late for the Board to start succession planning.  We get you started today so you aren’t scrambling tomorrow. 

You’ve probably heard that the biggest mistake organizations make in CEO succession planning is not planning at all.  The most common reason for not doing it is having a high-performing current CEO Source.  The Board has a false sense of security and focuses on other priorities.  The second most common reason is having a hand-picked internal successor in mind.  The problem is that they are focused on a person rather than the process.  So when that person leaves, the Board is left scrambling.  And the chaos that ensues within the organization (and stock market) can be devastating.  Interestingly, the third most common reason is not having a suitable internal candidate in mind.  Here again, the focus is on a single person and one that doesn’t even exist!  Or, maybe they do – and the Board doesn’t see it.

The New Rules of CEO Succession Planning

In a recent article in the pwc publication strategy+business, the authors defined new rules for CEO succession planning Source.  While there are lots of gems in this article, one of the best is this: “Start with the what and not the who.”  The three rules are: (1) start with discussing strategy and where the organization is headed, (2) build a shared framework for assessing and discussing candidates that filters out the noise, and (3) structure the process to mitigate bias.  Our CEO Succession Planning Services mirror these best practices. 

Our Approach to CEO Succession Planning

We certainly understand why most organizations don’t get excited about CEO Succession Planning.  Let’s face it – it can be complicated and messy, and often, internal resources have neither the expertise nor the capacity to do it all themselves.  

Frequently, the most daunting part is defining the process that will be used to identify and groom potential successors.  
Getting this part right is critical because you’ll use this data to short-list potential successors and guide development plans to prepare them to be the next CEO.  If you’re looking for a partner to get this part right, we’re here to help.  Our 6-step process is shown below.

CEO Succession Planning

Defining Success Factors

First, we gain an understanding of your business strategy, which parts of the culture you want to maintain, and how you need to evolve for the future.  Our expertise is in translating that information into Success Factors (i.e., competencies) that are distinct, clearly defined, and measurable.  In this way, we give the Board a shared understanding of the what that will help them to select the right who.  

We then use those competencies as building blocks for the assessment of CEO successor candidates.  We customize the assessment to measure the competencies and tailor the deliverables to report on them.  This gives the Board a clear understanding of each candidate’s competency strengths and gaps, and how/if the latter can be addressed.  

CEO Succession Assessment and Development

Objective Assessment
Different firms use different methods for conducting CEO succession assessments.  Ours is grounded in science and objectivity.  This helps you filter out the noise and ensure an unbiased process 

360 Degree Feedback
Typically, at this level, we conduct interview-based 360 because it provides the richest data.  Alternatively, or to supplement the interviews, we can create a custom online tool that measures your success factors.

Because each executive has a unique set of strengths, gaps, risks, and experiences, one size doesn’t fit all.  Our approach is individualized so  you’ll know where to invest your resources based on each executive’s profile.

Don’t wait until the Board asks you for your CEO Succession Plan.  Let us get you started today. 

Board of Directors