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How to Ace the Internal Succession Test

Convincing someone in your firm to become your partner is not the same as marketing a product like a car that people can compare and understand.

To succeed at internal succession and pique interest in leaders to become partners, you must package the opportunity and market it deliberately. Here are 7 tips to achieve internal succession:

  1. Define and differentiate the role. Where does authority begin and end? How different is it from being a senior manager or director?

  2. Present clear and motivational compensation. Trust and discretion are nice, but nowhere near as good as fixed and transparent parameters.

  3. Set tangible goals. Progressing to higher levels of ownership must be based on established criteria and achievement levels. Be clear and monitor.

  4. Acknowledge anxieties. Be real with your concerns and understand the candidate’s concerns. Presenting the opportunity as perfect will fail.

  5. Make decision-making valuable. Detail a partner’s input (where, when and how much).

  6. Coach. Mentor and facilitate growth into and throughout the role.

  7. Allow autonomy and freedom. This is especially valuable in smaller firms.

The sooner you start grooming successors, the better. The first day in a firm is the first day on the road to becoming an owner. Share triumphs and disappointments with people at all stages. Be real and give time to process for best results.

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