Succession Planning

Few challenges demand more of a business owner than passing on the family business to the next generation. Family members’ lifelong hopes, dreams, ambitions, relationships, even personal struggles with mortality, all figure into succession planning.

For most entrepreneurs, planning for the continuity of the enterprise is the ultimate management challenge. The owner must safeguard the long-term health of the business, as well as prepare and install a successor, and other family members’ roles in the business must be mapped out. Plans to hold down estate taxes and ensure the founder’s post-retirement security must be laid. And finally, the founder has to let go of the business he or she spent a lifetime building.

Perhaps most difficult of all, a great succession is one hardly anybody notices. It is a non-event, an evolutionary process arising from careful planning and artful management of expectations over a period of years.

Stevenson & Associates helps break the complex succession planning process into manageable pieces.

We help your organization:

  • Develop the components of an effective succession plan.
  • Communicate the plan to family members and the organization
  • Prevent and resolve conflicts and tensions
  • Overcome resistance to transferring power, as well as ideas for new roles, new careers and other post-retirement activities
  • Ensure the financial security of retiring parents or other owners
  • Avoid common post-succession mistakes and problems

Succession planning is a dynamic, on-going process of systematically identifying, assessing, and developing leadership talent for future strategic tasks. Strategic goals can only be achieved if an effective program for leadership succession is in place. Succession planning is necessary to ensure that leadership growth keeps pace with organizational growth.

Stevenson & Associates Approach to Succession Planning

While succession planning and management development have been critical to the achievements of the world’s most successful companies, there are also examples of succession planning not having been implemented effectively. It is critical that your approach to succession planning reflect several important principles and focus on a few key objectives. These are integral to the succession planning process Stevenson & Associatescustom designs for your company.


We help you focus on your long term, strategic requirements. In the past, succession planning has frequently not been successful because the focus has been too short, focusing solely on identifying a slate of candidates for positions that may open in six to twelve months. We help you develop a leadership cadre whose competencies align with your strategic mission.

We consider the current as well as the future required job competencies. In the past, the focus of succession planning was on identifying a slate of candidates for a job opening assuming that the position requirements would stay the same. Today, effective succession management requires the development of future leaders with leadership competencies and development experiences that prepare them for the organization’s strategic future. We focus on leadership requirements. In the past, the emphasis was on specific functional skill and industry expertise. Today, job analysis techniques develop objective criteria for a broader, more flexible leader of the future who can help the organization realize its vision and who reflects its values.

We utilize objective assessments which are far more accurate and reliable than the intuitive judgment of an individual’s manager. In the past, ratings or rankings were based on the judgment of the individual’s manager. Today, the use of validated assessment tools, provide management with non-judgmental and quantifiable information.

We add value to the leadership team, not just to the individual. In the past, succession planning focused on the preparation of high potential individuals. Today, organizations increasingly work in teams and succession management needs to focus on the individual in the context of the leadership team and how to add value to team performance.

We focus on making the process open, enabling managers to take more responsibility for their careers. In the past, succession planning was shrouded in mystery and reflected a paternalistic closed, top-down planning process with little input from the candidate. Today, responsibility for career progression is on the individual and involves dialogue with candidates, executive job posting, mentoring and educating people about the leadership template.

We focus on development. In the past, succession planning has focused solely on ranking. It is critical that development play a major role, so that you are developing the competencies you will need in the future.


Today’s dynamic business environment necessitates that succession management be an actively ongoing process integrated with the organization’s strategic plan.

Stevenson & Associates focuses on objectively assessing, identifying and developing high potential employees as well as outside candidates to align with the organization’s strategic goals and required competencies for future leadership.

The following is a list of objectives for every Stevenson & Associates succession planning project:

  1. An assessment of the current culture and the ideal culture to achieve your long-term strategic objectives.
  2. A model of current and future success competencies for every management position.
  3. An understanding of each manager’s strengths, weaknesses, and succession readiness.
  4. A plan for improving the capabilities of all managers and leaders.

We begin with an assessment of your current culture as well as what you would like your culture to be to maximize your ability to achieve your strategic objectives. We then identify the current and future required competencies for each identified management position and objectively evaluate selected managers’ levels of competencies using a customized 360-degree evaluation tool. We summarize the succession readiness for each manager, implement a custom program for developing and coaching all managers for future success, and create a plan for continued development.

In Summary

Stevenson & Associates offers an objective, reliable process which links succession planning with your long-term strategic plan. We will help you to maximize your human capital and its value added by assessing and developing high potential talent for future leadership needs. This approach will maximize your ability to ensure leadership continuity and to achieve your strategic goals. We want to help you be the long-term leader in your industry.