We focus on the end goals first, customize the approach for each situation, and target efforts on execution and achievement. With our experience, we know when strengthening or reorganizing the company is required before a succession plan has a chance of success; in those cases, we recommend the preliminary work before wasting our time and the client's money on a plan destined for failure.
Effective management succession plans need specific development goals for new leaders, and include timelines and organization structures to guide decisions and measure progress. For closely held businesses, strategies should ensure company profitability necessary to meet the financial needs of both the retiring and successor generations.
CASE STUDY: Management Succession at an ENR 500 Firm
Wagner Consulting Group guided management succession and strategic planning efforts for an Engineering News-Record “Top 500” engineering firm. Wagner also assisted with the successful implementation of this plan, which featured a new team of senior managers.
Wagner Consulting Group was hired to guide management succession and strategic planning efforts, and involved 41 managers in the initial phase of the planning. This broad participation helped identify key resources, clarify problems, and – most important – build a sense of ownership in the process that would result in buy-in for the ultimate plan.
Four months after work began, Wagner presented findings and recommendations at a management retreat. Senior management then accepted Wagner’s recommendation to create a diverse ad hoc planning team of 12 participants to develop long-range strategies and near-term goals. Over the next three months Wagner facilitated these planning efforts. The major outcome of this work was a new organization structure and identification of “Next Generation” leaders, who were promoted to key positions.
CASE STUDY: Ownership Transition for a Family-owned Contractor
The founder's corporate attorney asked Wagner Consulting Group to help craft a plan to gradually transfer ownership and management of the company from parents to siblings. Complex family relationships and interrelated business interests made this a challenging assignment. Wagner developed the final plan with input from other professional advisors to the family.
Wagner began by evaluating the company to identify strengths on which to build, weakness to be overcome, and areas of existing or potential conflict among family members and key employees. Balancing the desire for immediate control of the future CEO with mentoring and a transition period that did not alarm employees, customers, and vendors was a key element of the succession strategy. Retaining non-family managers was another objective.
The final plan met the personal needs of the retiring generation, contained controls to ensure security of the sellers' income stream, and minimized taxes. Additionally, Wagner provided specific recommendations to improve operations, outlined management development goals, and helped the company develop budgets to serve as guidelines and reality checks.
“You bring issues to the table that have potential to make the company more profitable. You are also persistent in keeping us aimed at the task before us. I value our personal and professional relationship.” -- Ronnie Garner, Owner
“Thanks for your helpful advice and sincere concern for our future and well-being. I appreciate you and all you do.” -- Richard Dean, Owner