Leadership Succession

A change in leadership is a time of high stakes, with real risks—and opportunities—on the table. A thoughtful leadership succession process takes into account the full scope of the organization, using a transition moment to test assumptions and build both leadership and organizational capabilities. CFAR excels at leadership transition consulting, having been at the forefront of this complex topic for our entire history. We have written and spoken extensively about succession, across sectors, and have helped leaders and organizations leverage these transitions as key opportunity moments.

The challenges of a leadership change can show up in a number of different ways, each presenting its own dynamics. An exiting, long-tenured leader faces questions about how to transfer their passion, commitment, and vision to their successor(s); a newly-entering leader must grapple with how to engage their team and organization and wrestle with the possibility of an entrenched organizational culture that may be resistant to change; a broader leadership restructuring can prove anxiety-inducing for staff and confusing for other leaders, who find the dimensions of their roles reshaped.

In all cases, context is key. Balancing continuity with innovation, matching capabilities with organizational needs, and planning for the future while maintaining the day-to-day are just some of the many variables inherent to leadership changes that must be addressed in real time, to avoid becoming long-term drags on or forces of disruption.

This work requires deep understanding of and experience in the disciplines of leadership development, market strategy, and organizational change—because a leadership change is most successful when not thought of as an event, but rather a time to prepare, consider the future as fully as possible, and, afterward, revisit goals. Many consulting firms work in one or another of these areas, but few have expertise in all. CFAR has spent many years supporting clients facing transitions of all kinds, including leadership. We know the stages of the process and are adept at intervening effectively at each one. As a result, we can act as partner and guide to the search for new paths, while helping clients locate unforeseen opportunities that come from new circumstances. Leadership changes can be further supported by our executive coaching offerings, which you may read more about HERE.

Ultimately, we believe in using transitions to create value—and to foster continuity, coherence, and optimism during what are uncertain times in the life of any organization. paper plane icon

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