Effective Succession Through Leadership Teaming

A steadily growing professional services firm which had just merged with another sizable firm was facing a succession dilemma. Their long-standing Managing Partner was ready to scale back and succession planning was not in place. Their top producer as well as a couple other partners were interested in the Managing Partner role. However, the incumbent saw both pros and cons in each. It was felt they needed to figure out who had the innate leadership acumen and who the would trust and follow.

After speaking with the partners and a sample of staff, we determined that enough trust was felt to utilize a 360 feedback tool to assess each partner for this role. After an initial meeting with the partners, all staff were educated in the importance of this work and their response level was high. Objectively, we gathered data from the Managing Partner, peer partners and reporting staff across an array of validated and agreed to leadership behaviors which correlated to their organizational strategy and culture.

With data on all partners in hand, we shared our findings and discussed recommendations with the Managing Partner. Initially, we faciliated a team meeting with all partners to help them understand the team strengths and challenges in the context of their strategy. Then, each partner received a 1:1 debriefing on their individual findings followed by executive coaching. This was particularly effective in guiding the understanding of one partner that this role was not right at this time and why and to support another in elevating consideration of the role and why. All partners continued to meet and discuss the future of the firm, understanding how they could each contribute in a meaningful way that best leveraged their strengths.

The new Managing Partner is doing well and is supported by all peers and staff. The future for the firm is on solid ground and positioned for growth.