Succession planning is both a vital component of doing business as well as a valuable resource to build stronger leadership values and guide decision-making processes.

Succession planning assists in overcoming unpredictability in the workplace and ultimately helps executives plan their future. Focusing on the well-being of clients and employees is an essential element for their combined success.

Due to the complexity and versatility of succession planning, it should be viewed as a business plan to efficiently analyze and evaluate employees on all levels. Proper planning also serves as a blueprint to follow to continuously assess growth, revenue, team goals and objectives.

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER
The best way to assure an effective succession plan is to build a team that can maintain and preserve the cultural legacy of the firm and who have strong and meaningful relationships with clients.

These relationships create a solid foundation of trust for future generations and act as fuel to bring meaning and value to client/adviser relationships. These relationships help boost confidence and enhance the overall client experience.

ALL HANDS ON DECK
Although succession planning may occur at an executive level, it is imperative that employees of all levels remain committed and proactive to the process of developing a succession plan that accurately aligns with the team’s goals, mission and values. An influential succession plan mirrors a team business plan and is a living, breathing document conveying the organizational structure while offering advice and management tools to get all members on the same page and on track to meet goals, milestones and objectives.

For executives, it is important to ensure that what they have built will endure and provide their supporting employees and clients with the appropriate resources to create a seamless transfer of leadership.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Honest and open communication is integral to every healthy relationship, whether it be personal or professional. Client relationships have tremendous power in transforming a wealth management practice, as these relationships help positively affect the business, attract future generations and generate revenue.

Communicating early and often to clients and employees is important to strengthen client relationships and assure that all team members are focused and dedicated to build, protect and preserve clients’ wealth, despite adjustments and improvisations within the workplace each year.

Succession planning is about having the right people, in the right place, at the right time. The creation of a succession plan is an intricate process, one that indirectly involves many levels of employment and is both a continuing and structured process.

The selection of team members who are dedicated to the cultural legacy of the firm can help provide confidence for clients and employees during times of change, providing reassurance and supportive guidance every step of the way.

This story is part of a 30-30 series on smarter succession planning.

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Nick Bapis

Nick Bapis

Nick Bapis is a partner and managing director at The Bapis Group at HighTower Advisors in New York and Salt Lake City.