White's succession comes as businesses nationwide prepare to deal with what has been called a perfect workplace storm. A growing number of baby boomers who put off retiring with concerns over the economy are deciding it's time to leave now.
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"We have several instances of that going on and at very high levels," Burkett said. "Now that people are seeing it in action, there's excitement about opportunities in the organization."
The future retiree will spend the transition period helping build relationships between clients and their new accountants as well as training colleagues on the intricacies of each client's tax or auditing needs.
"That is where people learn best. It's not a bad thing," she said. "But you can do that as a strategic plan, or you can do that out of necessity. I've found when there's strategy behind it, it goes a lot better."
Those identified as potential leaders receive additional professional development and growth opportunities, he said.
Employees who show leadership potential and new managers go through a program that Sanford developed around its organizational values and specific needs. Interviews with more than 400 people who were identified by Sanford executives as Converse Shoes High Tops For Girls
While businesses recognize the coming wave of retirements, many haven't started planning who will succeed top executives and how those future leaders should be developed, according to Kerri Tietgen, owner of KT Consulting Inc.
"The important thing that comes out of that is leadership development plans," Rykhus said. "If it's just a depth chart, you're not doing anything. If it's used as a development planning tool, it has a lot of value."
Since its founding in 1956, the company has had only four CEOs, a fact Rykhus credits to succession planning. He found out in 2008 when he was Converse Yellow Shoes
The firm asks partners to give one to three years' notice of a retirement.
"The steps are put in place to transfer client responsibilities to others," partner Keith Severson said. "So at the end of the three year period our clients don't miss a beat."
successful leaders helped shape the curriculum.
"When we saw this coming at us a couple years ago, we put in place formal leadership development opportunities," said Evan Burkett, chief human capital officer.
The Sioux Falls office of Eide Bailly LLP also has developed best practices in succession planning focused on continuity of service for the accounting firm's clients.
A 2008 survey by Gallup Press found that 52 percent of business owners planned to leave their business by 2017.
At Raven, the executive team members and five or six leaders in each division annually identify three potential successors for each position.
Sanford Health executives Becky Nelson and Nate White are out to create a succession success story.
Health care approachAt Sanford Health, human resources identified that more than half of the organization's leaders will turn 65 in the next 10 years.
"It also provides individuals with more insight into where their strengths are, how they respond under stress and what their communication style is," Burkett said.
"There's no communication, no meeting, no debate that Nate and I aren't in together," Nelson said. "I don't make a decision without Nate, and many times I say, 'Nate this needs to be your decision. You'll be living with it after I leave.' "
"Ron said, 'Dan, you're going to be CEO at 45 years old. And that's young for a CEO. But it's important that on Day One you and the board start succession planning for the (next) CEO,' " Rykhus said. "By doing that, you avoid it becoming personal."
"Our growth strategy is aggressive, and it's not just doing more of the same," President and CEO Dan Rykhus said. "It's a very complicated growth strategy, and it requires leaders."
Grooming the next leaders
Sanford asks its top leaders to give at least six months' notice before retiring to allow for transitions like the one Nelson and White are making.
"I see a bit of a panic," she said. "I had this conversation 10 years ago, and at the time they were panicked. Then it got put on the back burner as a result of the recession, All Black Converse High Tops Size 8 and today companies are very concerned, very behind, and the catch up can be overwhelming."
elected to the board of directors that he was a strong candidate to succeed then CEO Ron Moquist, though it didn't become official until August 2010.
Best practicesBusinesses that have fallen behind should prepare to be creative and expect new leaders will be learning on the job, Tietgen said.
"We teased each other and said this will be the best transition of leadership that an organization has ever seen," said Nelson, who recently announced plans to retire early next year as the health system's senior vice president and chief operating officer. "Meaning ease, continuity, support of each other."
we spend together? Not enough. I'm really trying to learn everything I can," he said. "It's watching her, her leadership style, her knowledge base, her skill of making sure the right people are in the right room when the decision is made. There isn't a day that goes by when there isn't something I grasp onto and say, 'I have to remember that.' "
At Raven Industries Inc., succession planning and strategic planning go together.
White, who started at Sanford as an attorney in 2006 and advanced to become chief operating officer of the health services division for the Sioux Falls region, said he's humbled and grateful for the transition process.
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