Tag Archives: succession

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next leader

Next Leader, Is Succession Vital For You?

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Are you the heir apparent for a business venture? Have you endured the ups and downs, the in’s and out’s, and have many years of service? Jumping in as the next leader may require more than just being in line.

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs will quickly consider the high failure rate of passing the baton the next person waiting in line. Conducting business, driving culture, and ensuring future success are never just a matter of filling the slot.

Succession Matters

There are at least two high-level conditions for succession.

The first is, can the new leader maintain the flow and culture when assuming the same role as the current or recent past leader?

How will the new leader fit?

This question is the most commonly considered. The assumption is that life needs to continue on as it is currently. Another assumption is that it is a necessity that the disruption is minimal.

The second condition is to consider what changes will be required or should be investigated since the new leader will certainly have some varying strengths and weaknesses? Often the strategy is to play down any differences while quietly and albeit slowly integrating change.

Neither of those approaches are wrong or completely off base. Yet, are they the most productive integration of the passing of the baton?

Next Leader

Succession planning and management for all organizational positions should have connections to the current, or the most recent past leadership competencies (assuming they’ve been successful) and at the same time they should be considerate of the fluidity required for change.

For the next leader, the ability to navigate the transition intrinsically matters, and the ability to navigate it interpersonally for organizational dynamics may matter even more.

The requirements for seamless succession are often underestimated. Being the heir apparent may be a frame that is far too narrow. Skillful navigation and fluidity may matter the most.


Do you need help with succession planning and management? Contact me, I would be happy to start a dialog.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Succession and Building a Small Business Empire

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Many small business owners and CEO’s wonder what they’ll do next. Many are not serial entrepreneurs but they are passionate about the work that they do. What happens as the window of their reign starts to close? Have they prepared the organization to continue, will there be successful succession?

It is interesting to ask the small business CEO, “Who is number two?” It is not uncommon that they’ll flinch and squirm a little. Certainly, it is understandable, it is their business, but they probably aren’t preparing appropriately for what is next.

Considering that they are a successful CEO, they probably will have trouble admitting that they haven’t really been looking or building the team. In fact, they’ll likely argue that they have but that true talent eludes their operation.

Largely, this is confirmation bias for why they are still at the reins.


Is it true that no talent is available to fill some spots? Can it be that it is too challenging to line up a few possibilities for number two, three, or four?

Every human resources leader, manager, and CEO should consider a few key elements for the atmosphere of onboarding.

Does the organizational culture for both current and advertised positions have the following dynamics?

  1. Trust. People (employees) are encouraged to take action, not wait for permission to move.
  2. Movers. Many small businesses hire to lock someone in, not provide a path for growth.
  3. Risk takers. Certainly, you don’t want someone to sink the ship, but risk within bounds of authority is important for organizational advancement.
  4. Experts. Good enough is only good enough, it is not high performance. Hire (or create) experts, they desire more, they will create more.
  5. Confidence. A culture that honors achievements and exceeding expectations. It builds confidence, and confidence is a desired cultural attribute.
  6. Investment. Invest in employees and they’ll be much more likely to invest in you.
  7. Respect. Everything starts within the team. Respect is mutual, not one way. A lack of respect is a momentum stopper.

Business Empire

Many small business owners hire to fill labor requirements. They equate the process to hiring a house painter, someone to cut the lawn, or shovel the snow.

Nothing is wrong with any of these jobs or the people performing the work. The trouble spot is that the culture provides no growth. Most of all the mindset is to hire for fit. In this case, fit means just this position, all day, every day, for the rest of time.

Unfortunately, sometimes the owner, CEO, or board of directors, does not prepare early enough to make an appropriate difference.

As the window starts to close is the organization prepared?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant and succession coach who helps organizations and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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