Selecting a Successor — A Lesson in Personal & Organizational Growth

THE CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY: How to Leverage a Single Business Decision into the Next Generation for Success

Imagine you are a managing director of a high growth office in a premier financial services firm. In less than four years, you have built an organization of more than 25 successful financial representatives and staff; your name is on the door of the building; and the home office has recognized you as a future leader for the next network office. To continue to grow personally, professionally and financially, you must select a successor who will continue your legacy and plans. If you find the right leader, you can benefit from results at this level and the next.

At first, the solution seems simple. There are two financial representatives on your team who are strong producers and have an interest in management. While neither possesses all the traits and characteristics of a leader, you trust them and they have been with you since the beginning. They are friends and know the organization. Which should you select? You discuss dividing leadership responsibilities between them, but you realize that only postpones the decision and could slow the momentum of the agency.

THE SOLUTION: Design an Objective Process Focused on the Future of the Business, Not Individuals

To elevate the leadership selection process above personal relationships and inevitable biases, the managing director brought in Congruence, Inc. With her knowledge of financial services and succession planning, principal, Jan Torrisi-Mokwa, designed a future leader selection process to address four key steps:

  1. Identifying candidates
  2. Assessing capabilities
  3. Selecting the right leader
  4. Communicating the decision and managing the leadership transition

IMPLEMENTATION: A Step-by-Step Approach That Broadens Input and Participation

Step 1: Identifying Candidates

To broaden the pool of qualified candidates, a leadership profile was created and shared with the regional leadership team and all financial representatives with management aspirations.

Step 2: Assessing Capabilities

Eight candidates declared an interest in the opportunity. Each candidate was asked to complete a Congruence assessment of their abilities. This proprietary assessment tool is designed to measure seven (7) key success factors (e.g. track record of results, strong communicator, behavioral flexibility, leading by example, etc.) of each candidate’s capabilities. Additionally, the managing director completed a Congruence assessment of each candidate and then solicited three to four additional assessments from other leaders, peers and staff. Assessment results were organized in a matrix and revealed leadership strengths and opportunities of all candidates.

Step 3: Selecting the Right Leader

Four qualified candidates emerged from Step 2 (only one of whom had been initially identified by the managing director). The four finalists conducted personal interviews with the managing director. Following the interviews, two candidates were selected for the final phase and asked to develop a strategic plan of their vision of the organization. Both leaders were given one hour to present their plan to the entire office on a designated day. Feedback on their plans, presentation skills, personal interviews with the managing director, assessment data, and demonstrated results in recruiting and production were used to make the final decision.

Step 4: Communicating the Decision and Managing the Leadership Transition

The managing director met individually with the candidate who was not selected, communicated the decision and the criteria for selection to the entire office and worked with Congruence, Inc. to develop a transition plan for the new leader’s first year.

THE RESULTS: Fast, Effective, Positive Process Creates Smooth Transition

In less than 60 days, a new leader was selected – one with the right characteristics to produce results and continue the organization’s legacy of growth. The entire organization had the opportunity to provide feedback and input during the process. Thus, the full team embraces the new leader’s plan and vision. Even the two initial candidates, who were not selected, were retained and are supportive of the successor.

RESULTS UPDATE: The leader selected for this role has just crossed his third year as managing director and is ranked the Top 5 out of more than 400 organizations for profitable growth and college marketing.

YOUR NEXT STEPS: Talk to Congruence, Inc.

Call Congruence, Inc. or email Jan to learn more about Achieving Results on Purpose. By investing in thoughtful planning upfront, you can assure that the right leader is selected for all the right reasons, leading to the long-term success of your business. Congruence works to ensure that your emerging leaders are in line with the needs of your people, clients and business objectives.