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Onboarding a New CEO: What You Should Know

July 26, 2019

Is your chief executive officer leaving? Have an internal successor in mind? Take into account these factors as you work through this transition.

Is your chief executive officer retiring, moving or otherwise leaving the company? Do you have an internal successor in mind? As his/her succession date draws near, organization redesign can help make sure this top internal candidate will be well-equipped to make the leap to the top executive position. But is this always necessary?

Why redesign the organization?

Sometimes, organizational redesign is essential for a company to achieve its strategic intentions. After the announcement of a new regional growth initiative, following a merger, or when a new CEO comes on board, organizational redesign can help a company better focus its resources, reduce costs and improve decision making and accountability.

How does organization redesign specifically help new CEOs?

Let’s say a successor candidate lacks experience in overseeing quality control but possesses all other technical qualifications your business requires. Your organization can create a new operational role that will fill that responsibility.

How can succession planning help with this?

As we cover in our blog, Why Succession Planning Should be a Top Priority for All Businesses, companies that have a plan in place in the event of a c-level departure are better equipped to have a smoother transition. Top internal candidates must be well prepared to take on a new position, and this can be achieved in a variety of ways.

This may include:

  1. Stretch assignments- Like the name suggests, stretch assignments are projects or tasks given to employees that are beyond their current knowledge or skill level in order to “stretch” them developmentally.
  2. Rotations through a range of businesses/functions- With a job rotation system, employees gain experience and skills by taking on new responsibilities. Job rotation encourages development and lets you know where employees work best, and who is best fit to take on a leadership role in the event of a CEO’s departure.
  3. Coaching- Executive coaching for succession planning is intended to build on potential successors’ strengths and identify areas where they shine. Coaching is designed to identify goals, values, motivation, priorities and concerns for both the executive transitioning and the executive in line for succession.
  4. High-potential programs- Many organizations invest in a “high potential development program” which aims to identify the individuals in your company who have the potential, ability and aspiration to hold successive leadership positions in your company.
  5. Individual development programs- IDPs are tools to help potential successors organize and target their professional and personal development. The primary purpose of an IDP is to help future leaders reach short and long term career goals as well as improve current job performance. There is no mandatory format or official form for an IDP. Making an effective IDP depends on addressing certain questions including…
  • What direction is my company going and what will it need from its employees to accomplish its goals?
  • What are my goals over the next five years?
  • What are my strengths and how can I more effectively build on them?
  • Do I have any weaknesses that are preventing me from reaching my goals?

All five of these tactics can produce a solid crew of highly competent leaders and potential CEO successors, with all the technical qualifications the position requires.

Questions on onboarding a new CEO? Reach out to KLR Executive Search Group, LLC.

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