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Succession planning: Identify future leaders

Succession planning: Identify future leaders Q. If I asked one of your core employees if you have a succession plan, what would they say?

A. If you asked the leaders about their HME company's succession plan, they would likely say they don't have one and don't know exactly what a succession plan entails.

A succession plan can be defined as a strategy for finding the next group of company leaders. When employees leave, the business must be prepared to move on. Identifying and training the future leaders is the key to a succession strategy.

Core group

With that definition in mind, how should you create your own plan? First, examine the operation, looking for what you'd need if the chief executive was gone tomorrow. The key is to find the core group of staff that holds the company together. Examine each department for that core group. It is not always who you'd expect. I often come across a diamond in the rough and they make great key employees.

Potential leaders

With your core employees found, next identify potential leaders. Stay focused on those with skills required for higher positions. Do they exhibit behaviors that motivate other employees? Do they teach those below them? Additionally, look around for other signs of potential leadership. For example, encourage an employee who takes initiative to speak up about an issue and offers a solution. Watch employees who help others in day-to-day work and look for those who naturally become the go to people in a department. That is the behavior of a leader who should be offered additional training or mentorship to determine if they are up to the leadership task.

As I travel around the country consulting with HME companies of all sizes, and as I coach leaders remotely, I have learned that you are only as good as the next leader you develop. Focus on this to set benchmarks for their growth and hopefully, one or more will be part of the succession plan.

Miriam Lieber is president of Lieber Consulting LLC. Reach her at


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