It’s easy to make a list of potential CEO candidates. You can probably even craft a list of skills he or she should have. But here’s how to move from a scratch pad to a successful succession plan.

Step 1: Don’t start at the top. People throughout your organization have a stake in your next leader. Involving the key people early gives you more perspectives and gains you immediate buy in. Have that group develop the profile of the ideal CEO.


Step 2: Take a good look around. See if you have candidates right in front of you. Your whole team can even go through executive assessment. You may find more than the next CEO; you’ll see where everyone can make the greatest impact on your business.


Step 3: Try it on and see if it fits.  Measure your final candidates against a short-term time frame and a more planned succession. Could your candidate take the reins if the CEO were to leave tomorrow? Is your management team strong enough to help with the transition to a new CEO?


Step 4: Make it happen, together. To set your leaders up for their greatest success, it’s critical that a new CEO have a team of experienced and helpful mentors, coaches and plenty of opportunities for feedback.