Succession Planning

Smith & Wilkinson is Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today

Leadership turnover is inevitable, yet surveys consistently show that barely 50% or organizations have a formal succession plan for the CEO, much less other leadership positions and business critical roles.  It doesn’t need to be this way.  A robust succession plan benefits everyone who cares so much about the future success, stability, and relevance of your business.


Smith & Wilkinson’s Succession Planning Process focuses on identifying and developing talent for key leadership positions and other business critical roles across your organization.  The right approach builds confidence for the C-suite and the Board of Directors, while also fostering a healthy learning and development culture, where key employees are exposed to growth opportunities, leadership techniques and philosophies, and stretch projects to build capacity.


While all organizations will need to recruit externally for some roles, the right succession planning process can help make that the exception, not the rule.

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Succession Planning Process

  1. Strategic Review. Succession planning sits at the nexus of strategic planning and talent management, where all talent management decisions are informed by the strategic plan.  All engagements rest on the foundation of a clear strategic plan.
  2. Executive Profiles & Skills Matrix. Utilizing a “360 Needs Assessment” technique, we are able to build unbiased position profiles and skills matrices for key roles, focused on Experience & Technical Expertise, Executive Leadership Capabilities, Culture & Business Values, and Growth Orientation & Potential.
  3. Internal Candidate Assessments. We combine direct candidate interviews, a formal 360-Interview process with managers, peers, and reports, and psychometric testing to evaluate internal candidates against the requirements of future roles.  All candidates are plotted on a 9-square development grid, which allows us to look for high-potential candidates to invest in.
  4. Professional Development Plan. Based on the results of our assessments, we customize long-term professional development plans for high-potential internal candidates, getting them ready to be “next in line” for mission critical roles.
  5. Leadership Coaching. Our proprietary Leadership Coaching system provides a powerful framework for personal and professional growth.
  6. Interim & Emergency Planning. When turnover is unexpected, an emergency succession plan can step in with an interim executive, a reassignment of critical duties on a temporary basis, a short list of potential external candidates, and a plan of action with a search firm.

Planning Team

Carll Wilkinson
Managing Partner
Community & Regional Banks, Credit Unions, Succession Planning

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