** As published on AESC Bluesteps

Succession planning. We think about it all the time, right? No? Never? Unfortunately, that’s the reality in many businesses – particularly smaller or family-owned companies.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Succession planning is a means for an organization to ensure its continued effective performance through leadership continuity. For an organization to plan for the replacement of key leaders, potential leaders must first be identified and prepared to take on those roles.”

**As published in Electric Light & Power

When we step back and review companies in the power sector, at first it’s difficult to come up with a concrete list of success strategies that broadly apply to all players. After all, what do investor-owned utilities, independent power companies, and capital providers (funds, banks) in this sector truly have in common other than their focus on energy.

**As published in Construction Today

In many ways, construction companies should select from the pool of talent within their organizations. When promoting an internal leader, the individual knows the work rules, he or she intuitively understands the culture and is a walking source of institutional knowledge. The internal candidate understands the hot button safety issues, the personality quirks of the team and the organizational discomfort with specific policies unique to a construction company. In essence, the internal leader is a known quantity. He or she has a well-defined cost, and possibly modest expectations for increased compensation due to the impending promotion. Certainly, the morale of others may rise as evidence of promotions becomes suddenly real. At least that’s the ideal.

**As published in IndustryWeek

Does the traditional, conservative, “me-too” approach of many manufacturers hold them back? What sort of incremental changes could a traditional manufacturer implement to foster a more progressive culture?

Manufacturing as an industry has seen tremendous change over recent decades, both in the U.S. and abroad. No longer as heavily reliant on manual labor, manufacturing shops are more highly automated, and many organizations have focused on lean, six sigma, and continuous improvement initiatives. Culturally, manufacturing has seen change as well, though the degree varies from organization to organization. What IS the traditional, stereotypical culture of manufacturing? 

**As published in Construction Executive

People who design and construct things are a different breed. There is no factory, no store, and they often work out in the open and all kinds of weather. Cutting corners in construction entails risk. Misjudging one task could mean threatening the safety of people or the integrity of the project. Success hinges on the decisions and actions of the team and each team requires leadership.

Welcome to your new home away from home.  Thanks for signing all those forms, here’s your personal ID and a badge.  Now I’ll escort you to your space and later somebody will come by to drop off supplies.  Over there is where we eat, to the right are several common areas and the parking lots are in the back.  You do know we’re meeting up front at 11:00, right?  Well, here we are.  Bathrooms are down the hall on the left, good luck.

So, your search firm has presented a short list of candidates. You interview three. One is a complete miss. You decide between the two finalists, but the choice is pretty clear. Candidate A is the overwhelming favorite amongst the leadership team. They all connected with her, she has great credentials, and she’s motivated to join your company. She’s hired.

Your highly touted CFO candidate just declined your job offer.  Given the timing at this advanced stage, all other motivated candidates have moved on, leaving you with no back-ups.  Your stomach churns, you had vouched to the Board that this would come together.  Even worse, as news breaks to the team you literally see morale deflating.  And you can’t ignore the numbers flashing in your head – you know that the opportunity cost of prolonged executive recruiting is typically 4(x) the salary of the vacant role, meaning your company is wasting approximately $20,000 per week as this CFO role goes unfilled.