August 11, 2014

CEO Succession: Finding A Balance

A CEO in your organization is leaving. Now what?

Whether you’re the CEO in this scenario, a member of the board, or simply an innocent internal bystander, planning for succession can be difficult. Sometimes the succession is expected, but other times it occurs unexpectedly, giving you little time to prepare.

Healthcare organizations tend to thrive on consistency and operations that are steadily managed, but what about when it comes to things like CEO succession? Changes like these tend to be anything but consistent and steady, especially if you aren’t equipped with a effective succession strategy.

Oftentimes, when CEOs are planning on retiring or leaving an organization, they will offer insight into the selection of their successors, and, because of the level of trust they have established within the organization, their insight is taken very seriously.

Unfortunately, there can a gray area when it comes to a CEO’s involvement in the selection of their own successor, and the question often asked is How involved is too involved?

It makes sense that board members would respect the opinion of a trusted CEO. After all, who has a better knowledge of the company than a CEO who is successfully integrated as a leader into the company environment and culture? Just like anything in life, there’s a balance, and according to a recent Becker’s Hospital Review article, “…there is a fine line between lending a hand and overstepping authoritative boundaries.”

Here are some tips for keeping the balance during times of CEO succession:

1. Allow CEOs to be involved in the initial planning processes, but leave the final candidate profiling and decisions to the board.
2. Be aware of industry trends and challenges. Don’t be afraid to break the status quo.
3. Ensure that the CEO profile aligns with shifts in industry priorities.
4. What are the weaknesses within your organization? Find a CEO who can fill these gaps.
5. Without overlooking external candidates, don’t overlook internal candidates who are already familiar with organizational processes and practices. (This is a great opportunity to request advice from the CEO predecessor.)

At Coors Healthcare Solutions, we pride ourselves on our ability to manage CEO searches, as well as on our ability to advise boards on the intricacies and challenges of executive search. When it comes to CEO succession, we’re here to help you fill the gaps in your organization. By offering search processes tailored to your organization’s board, we offer each candidate personalized attention in order to ensure they are successful and ideal fit for your organization. Contact us to learn more.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing organizations during CEO succession? How involved do you think a departing CEO should be in the selection of their successor?


Hot industry news & trends

More useful articles