According to, succession planning is "the identification and development of potential successors for key positions in an organization, through a systematic evaluation process and training. Succession planning is largely predictive in judging an individual for a position he or she might never have been in." Essentially for larger organizations, it entails developing internal people with the potential to fill key leadership positions in the company.

For small business owners, succession planning might look quite different than in large companies. For family businesses whose owners are looking to retire, the approach may involve:

  1. Passing the business to a family member or successor

  2. Transitioning the business to an employee

  3. Selling the business to a third party

It is estimated that between 70% to 80% of all companies do not have an effective succession plan in place. This applies to both small and large organizations. With the baby boomer generation on the brink of retirement, establishing a plan for continuity is essential. Without a plan for succession, organizational continuity can be jeopardized, or retirement may be out of reach. We can help you to build emergency replacement plans and succession plans that will work for your organization through a variety of methods, which include:

  • talent identification

  • talent management

    • recruitment​

    • skills, knowledge, and abilities (SKA) assessment

    • performance management

    • skills and leadership development

  • knowledge management and knowledge transfer (tacit & explicit)

  • mentorship practices

  • workforce planning

For small or family-owned businesses, succession planning may require an alternative plan that includes transferring ownership in creative ways, and the knowledge that goes along with it. It's imperative that small businesses start planning about five years before they plan to retire or sell. 

Read more about succession planning tips on our LEADERSHIP RESCUE blog.


Want some stats on why succession planning is so critical to Canadian organizations? Read this Globe and Mail article from 2015 for some interesting information. Fox & Owl can help your business plan for the inevitable turnover.


Read the 2016 published thesis on succession planning by Fox & Owl Consultant, Melissa Ketler:

Copyright 2016.


Succession Planning Chart is available for use by request only.

Please email for permissions to redistribute.

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Nanaimo * Vancouver * Victoria