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Preparing for Succession in a Digital Age: Lessons to Position for a Better Transition

Jun 7, 2023

Succession planning has recently been a significant topic of conversation, both in the real world and on the HBO show "Succession." The narrative of the show this season centers around the Roy family’s decision to sell their media conglomerate Waystar Royco to technology genius Lukas Matsson, which generates existential angst and familial discord as they imagine what their lives may be like once the sale is complete. But succession planning has not only caused concern in the fictional world. In reality, many businesses of all sizes face similar problems of preparing for executive leadership succession transitions. Leaders must have a road map to help guide the succession journey and move toward success for one of the most significant events for their organization and their future.  

This article will explore steps to prepare for succession and protect companies during executive leadership transitions, including digital strategy, technology, and risk management assessments. Succession planning is similar to playing chess. It necessitates vision, strategy and meticulous planning of every step. A bad move in succession planning, like a wrong move in chess, can have severe ramifications for the senior leader and the entire organization. Business leaders are responsible for the longevity and profitability of their firm, which includes preparing for executive leadership transitions. In today's quickly changing digital landscape, a successful transfer needs more than finding a successor. 

The Succession Plan 

1. Develop a Succession Plan

The first stage in succession planning is to create a detailed succession plan outlining the process for identifying and nurturing possible successors. This plan should be consistent with the organization's overall business strategy and values with a focus on three key factors that include control, financial planning and exit options.

2. Conduct a Digital Strategy Assessment

A digital strategy review should be performed to keep the succession plan is in line with the company’s overall strategy and goals. The assessment should consider the demands and goals of all stakeholders, including the executive team, employees, customers and partners, by using design-thinking principles. This method can assist in identifying opportunities to leverage emerging technology, develop new digital solutions or improve existing digital systems to better support the succession plan. Identifying these opportunities enables the business to create a roadmap that is in line with its overall strategy and goals, allowing for a seamless and effective transition.

3. Conduct a Technology Assessment 

It is critical to review the business's current cybersecurity posture during the technology assessment to discover any vulnerabilities or risks to the digital ecosystem of the business. Examining the effectiveness of current cybersecurity controls and policies such as data backup and recovery plans, disaster recovery plans and incident response plans is part of this. Furthermore, the evaluation should examine the organization's data management processes, such as data storage, preservation, and protection rules to identify any potential risks connected to data loss, breaches or corruption throughout the transition. Identifying these risks and vulnerabilities enables businesses to mitigate the danger to the continuity and safety of their systems, business applications and infrastructure during the succession process.

4. Develop a Risk Management Plan

To identify and reduce potential risks throughout the transition, a risk management plan should be prepared. This strategy should include contingencies for unanticipated events, and it should be reviewed on a regular basis to address all current and potential risks. This will allow you to identify you risks and transform them into opportunities. 

5. Identify and Develop Potential Successors

Potential successors should be identified early in the process and given development opportunities to prepare them for their future roles. This involves giving training, coaching and opportunity to obtain expertise in many lines of business areas.  This will streamline the exit from the existing leader to the new leader. 

6. Communicate the Succession Plan

All stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders, should be informed of the succession plan when you are ready to communicate it. The communication plan should be open and clear, and contain information on the succession transition's timeframe as well as the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved.  

7. Ensure Continuity of Operations 

Keeping operations running should be a major focus during the changeover. This includes maintaining that no vital company operations are disrupted, and that all critical workers are retained and technological systems and infrastructure are safe.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Taking the above-mentioned steps when it comes to succession planning are essential for any organization's long-term success. By taking these actions, businesses can prepare smoothly and protect themselves during executive leadership transitions. Companies may identify possible risks and opportunities and take actions to mitigate those risks and construct a more seamless transition by performing digital strategy, technology, and risk management assessments. In a nutshell, businesses and family offices can prepare for succession and protect themselves during executive leadership transitions by taking various critical procedures. Additionally, identifying and nurturing possible successors early on can provide operational continuity and stability during the changeover. Following these critical insights, businesses may effectively handle senior leadership transitions and build long-term success for the business. 


Digital Intelligence - Our Current Issue: Q2 2023

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