Plante Moran’s "Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions"

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By AccountingWEB Staff

Plante Moran, PLLC, one of the nation's largest public accounting and business consulting firms, has announced the release of its new book, Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions. The book offers strategies to create sustainable organizations through leadership development. Widely known for its award-winning corporate culture (the firm has been on FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work For list for thirteen consecutive years), Plante Moran has one of the lowest turnover rates in the profession and has been lauded for its high percentage of female partners. Not until now, though, has the firm offered an inside look at its approach to grooming individuals to step into key leadership positions, including the ultimate leadership role – firm managing partner. 

Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions was written by former Plante Moran Managing Partner Bill Hermann, CPA, and Plante Moran Managing Partner, Gordon Krater, CPA, with Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sheryl James. Hermann served as the firm's managing partner from 2001-2009, and Krater is in the third year of a four-year term. Hermann saw the firm through several mergers and expanded its geographic footprint, reputation, and new client opportunities. He's now the practice group leader of Plante Moran's Services Group. Krater has navigated the firm through unprecedented challenges in the economy; yet, the firm's existing client relationships and ability to attract new clients remain exceptionally strong.

"The goal of the book was to create a primer on succession transitions through leadership development, but it's not a how-to book per se", says Hermann. "Successful leadership transitions take years, not months. That's because there's no substitute for investing time to cultivate and nurture those with the potential for leadership. Without a commitment to guide up-and-coming leaders, there can be no successful leadership transition." 

Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions focuses on six key areas that create sustainable and healthy organizations – a necessity for a truly successful leadership transition: 

  1. Organizational culture
  2. Communication and recognition
  3. Leadership selection
  4. Development
  5. Experiential learning
  6. Mentoring

The book offers examples as to why executives are encouraged to keep an open mind when identifying future leaders. Krater cites the example of a partner who was extremely shy early in her career: "Now she's risen not only to leadership roles in the firm, but in the public accounting profession as well. She would never have been tapped for leadership opportunities if the firm followed a predetermined leader mold."

For those who love their roles, the timing of stepping away from a leadership role can be just as important as stepping into one, says Hermann. 

"Being a good leader means knowing when to get in and when to get out", offers Hermann in the book. "The decision to give up leadership is as difficult as deciding who should take over leadership. If you're the current leader, you may recognize that the next era for your business requires skills that aren't necessarily your strengths."

Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions, with a foreword by Wayne State University president and former Ford Motor Company vice chairman, Allan Gilmour, is published by Momentum Books. Copies can be purchased for $19.95 online at or Momentum Books

Authors Bill Hermann and Gordon Krater and select Plante Moran contributors are available for speaking opportunities about the book, succession transitions, leadership development, mentoring, and establishing a thriving workplace culture. View interviews with Bill Hermann and Gordon Krater. To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact Teresa McAlpine at [email protected] or (248) 603-5344.

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