Executive Survey Shows Importance of Succession Planning

MENLO PARK, CA -- Executives plan for many contingencies to protect their businesses, including who will one day fill their shoes. In a new nationwide survey, 100 percent of executives confirmed the value of identifying and grooming a successor. The majority (72 percent) of those polled said they are currently preparing someone to take their place.

The survey was developed by RHI Management Resources, North America's largest consulting services firm providing senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "How valuable is it for a manager to identify and groom a successor to his or her position?" Their responses:

Very valuable   80%
Somewhat valuable    20%
Not at all valuable     0%

In a follow-up question, executives were also asked, "Are you currently grooming your successor at work?" Their responses:

Yes   72%
No   27%
No answer                   1%

"Succession planning lays the groundwork for a smooth transition when a manager is ready to take the next career step or in the event he or she leaves unexpectedly," said Paul McDonald, executive director of RHI Management Resources. "At the executive level, it can take years to adequately prepare someone to take the helm."

To ease the process, McDonald recommends that top candidates be included early and often in planning and strategy discussions and be given opportunities to lead high-profile meetings to gain visibility. "Potential successors also need to enhance soft skills such as communication, leadership, negotiation and diplomacy," he added.

RHI Management Resources has locations in major cities throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at



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