8 Ways to Break Down Silos in Succession Planning

Sep 5th 2014
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The accounting profession is still a conservative bastion, but increasingly it's multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary as the profession adjusts to the global demographics and shifting needs of the businesses and individuals it serves. It's especially important to keep this in mind while thinking about succession planning.

The crucial succession planning process benefits from the perspectives, insights, and hands-on involvement of a broad range of stakeholders who often are left out or function in their own silos rather than as a team. Here are some ways to increase coordination and collaboration to help achieve better and better-supported leadership.

  1. Use client service teams when possible to build relationships at many levels. These relationships are both internal in the firm as well as within the client organization and lay groundwork for the future.
  2. Include marketing/business development personnel in the selection and preparation process. They often have a good sense of the capabilities of many of the professionals and their potential for client attraction and relationship building. They know who can think strategically.
  3. Include professional development and human resources personnel in the selection process. They should have a handle on potential candidates' management, leadership and interpersonal skills and their personal styles.
  4. Include administrative and information technology personnel to support change, transition, and successors' needs. Those are important positions for implementing any transition, and getting their buy-in early on is valuable.
  5. Compile best practices from your firm's experience and other models. Keep evaluating what works and what does not—tweak the system as needed.
  6. Include younger generations in establishing criteria for future needs. This is essential! No longer can management assume that the ways of the past will work for a younger and multi-generational workforce and changing demands of the marketplace.
  7. Increase the number of qualified women, minorities, and younger leaders as successors, and make the roles appealing to them with strategic responsibilities. Give recognition and rewards in accordance with their value to the firm. Provide professional development as needed to achieve their potential.
  8. Establish succession planning, knowledge transfer and transitioning as an ongoing strategic process covering all roles critical to the firm's business. For sustainable growth and success, this is never "one and done."

Related article:

The 7 Ways to Transition Your Practice

About the author:

Phyllis Weiss Haserot helps firms increase profitability and productivity by attracting and retaining clients and employees of different generations and improving the working relations of their multigenerational teams. She is president of Practice Development Counsel and a recognized expert on workplace intergenerational challenges, author, speaker and facilitator. She is the author of The Rainmaking Machine and The Marketer's Handbook of Tips & Checklists (both Thomson Reuters/West). Reach her at [email protected], View her YouTube videos at her Generational GPS channel. © Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2014. All rights reserved.

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