Succession Candidate Development

If you went away right now – not tomorrow or next year, but now – what would your company lose?

Skills, knowledge, smarts? Those are all replicable. If that all it took to have a successor, it would be easy.

The reason developing a successor gets harder than it should be is because we think it should be easy. It’s not. What’s at stake is that drive, the vision, the personality, the acumen, the values and culture that are as much of who you are as what you do.

Developing people to take over key leadership roles – especially the role of CEO or managing partner – is a mutual exercise of taking on and letting go at the right time and in the right way. It is one of the biggest tests of leadership.

Coaching is crucial in succession candidate development. You need someone who can be objective and appreciate the interests of both parties.

I work with clients to get “straight A’s” when it comes to this critical and risky test:


Helping both parties be clear-eyed about what is involved, the behaviors and style needed, and ensuring that the succession candidate understands themselves as much as the job. I use assessments, interviews and other tools to open up the candidate to a new level of self-awareness.


The CEO position is not just the next job; it’s a leap. It means vision, focus, balance, perspective, relationships and acumen. I use a powerful process called ChangeGridTM to guide candidates in managing their key priorities in the optimum way to get the right things done and done right.


Senior leadership also is all about moral courage, empathy, authenticity and a sense of personal ownership of the conditions in the business. In my unique style of engaging with clients, I help unearth their “story” and help them shape and forge a set of leadership values that holds up under pressure.

Succeeding at Succession

How can you be sure that the person you have in mind to take over your spot will really do a great job? How do you know when they are ready? Even more, are you ready?

Be your Own Story-teller

This is an era of authentic leadership, but what does that mean and how do you make that a natural part of your leadership? How do you understand your story and tell it in a way that helps others rather than draws attention to yourself?

Managing the Hard Conversations

There’s a difference between a disagreement and a conflict. Are you avoiding tough talks, or having trouble resolving conflicts you see within your team or between you and others?