18 Best Books on Succession Planning

Best Books on Succession PlanningS

uccession planning is a process, not a single event. It’s the decision to identify and develop future leaders for an organization by training and providing opportunities to prepare them for future leadership. Succession planning has been around since the 1970s, but recent research has started to look at succession planning in organizations with family-owned businesses. Succession planning is not just about preparing qualified heirs to take over the business when the current owner steps down or retires. It’s also about developing future leaders who can take on more responsibility as they progress through the company. This strategy helps companies avoid attention-grabbing headlines of unprepared heirs that are thrust into leadership positions because there was no succession plan in place. The following books will help you learn more about

Best Books on Succession Planning: THE LIST

1. Effective Succession Planning | By William Rothwell

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Nobody likes to lose good employees. But sometimes the loss of a key employee can be disruptive to the business at best, and completely disastrous at worst. Organizations that don’t take steps to address future talent needs at all levels will face some major obstacles or even near collapse when undervalued key employees get burned out and leave you to fend for yourself. The most comprehensive book on the subject, the fifth edition of the bestselling Effective Succession Planning covers every base of how to address future talent needs before a crisis hits, including how to:• Identify competencies and clarify organizational values• Plan for and quickly fill crucial vacancies at all levels

Develop and retain top talent Assess current needs and future resources for seamless succession planning• And more updated with current best practices, trends, and technology, the latest edition also includes: succession planning for small businesses and nonprofits; replacement planning; transition management; downsizing; international issues; mergers and acquisitions as a talent strategy; and succession planning for technical positions as well as roles built on longstanding social relationships. Don’t risk the loss of your most valued employees and their accumulated wisdom and experience that has been key to your company’s success for many years. Effective Succession Planning is your go-to indispensable guide for avoiding the catastrophe that losing them would bring.

2. Succession Planning That Works | By Michael Timms

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Many attempts to establish a succession plan fail. Why? They run up against insurmountable implementation challenges, or weak executive commitment and follow-through.
Succession Planning That Works: The Critical Path of Leadership Development is a step-by-step guide to help HR professionals and senior leaders develop a succession plan that delivers a measurable return on investment.
Based on in-depth interviews with senior executives from nearly 50 organizations, Succession Planning That Works reveals not only the most important components of effective succession planning but also the most effective order in which to put them into practice.
Packed with real-world examples, Succession Planning That Works shows how real companies have attempted to tackle succession planning issues and examines both their victories and their failures to highlight the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Topics include:
• 13 reasons to begin succession planning now
• How to calculate the ROI of promoting from within
• The Succession Planning Critical Path – the most efficient and effective way to implement a succession plan
• How to gain or strengthen executive buy-in for succession planning
• How to measure your success
Also included are 20 downloadable templates and tools to help make succession planning easier to comprehend and implement…

3. Succession Planning Basics | By Christee Atwood

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Design your succession planning strategy.
Succession Planning Basics will equip you with the background and implementation tools you need to devise and execute a forward-thinking succession planning program for your organization. It offers theory, processes, and best practices for organizations embarking on a succession-planning project, addressing the basic concepts and steps for success. This book is for management professionals considering succession planning for their organizations, organizational development professionals at the beginning of their careers, human resources professionals wanting to move away from replacement hiring, and trainers needing a basic understanding of succession planning for employee development plans.
This second edition looks closer at tools and new developments in software that can streamline planning efforts as well as updated best practices and considerations for addressing the needs of every generation when creating succession plans. Chapters include assessment tools, exercises, and job aids.
Succession Planning Basics is part of ATD’s Training Basics series.

4. Business Succession Planning For Dummies | By Arnold Dahlke

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The fast and easy way to get a handle on business succession planning

While the demand for effective managers continues to grow, the retirement of baby boomers is producing a sharp decline in the ranks of available management personnel. In addition, the executives of the future are expected to be more sophisticated in order to develop and lead new global and technological initiatives. For these reasons, strategic and often long-sighted succession planning for the eventual replacement of managers at all levels has reached a critical level.

Business Succession Planning For Dummies aids managers, human resource professionals, and upper management in cultivating and retaining their existing employees to ensure the availability and capability of persons to assume leadership roles in the future. In plain English, it prepares business owners to ask difficult questions when it comes to developing a working succession plan for their business’s key positions. This book also offers information on how to retain and train personnel within an organization so that a more seamless transition can be made when a senior leader or other important personnel retires or leaves the organization.

  • How to retain and train personnel for a more seamless transition
  • Easy-to-follow guidance on developing a working succession plan
  • Tips to create a plan to save time, money, knowledge, and clients by hiring from within

If you’re a manager or human resources professional looking to develop a working succession plan, this hands-on, friendly guide has you covered.

5. Who Comes Next? | By Mary Kelly

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Leadership Succession Made Easy

Leaders leave. It’s inevitable. It might even happen today. Are you prepared?

Every organization needs a plan for leadership succession, but few leaders know how to start the process. WHO COMES NEXT? solves that problem and easily guides you through the steps of creating and implementing a viable succession plan.

This essential guidebook simplifies the process and gives you the tools you need to build and activate your leadership succession. You’ll find a comprehensive action plan, a library of all the tools needed to develop and sustain your plan, and a resource guide. You’ll learn how to:

Communicate with customers about the change
Identify talent gaps in your succession plan
Decide which succession planning model to adapt
Find your next generation of leadership within your organization
Handle the unique emotional complexities of succession in a family-owned business

Whether you are part of a small, family business, a Fortune 500 company or a non-profit, you need to start now by answering the question: WHO COMES NEXT?

6. The Succession Solution | By Bradley France

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If you are a business owner, or you are working with one, then this book is for you. The Succession Solution provides both an explanation of the importance of succession planning, as well as a practical, straight-forward, and proven system that can be used to continue your business to the next generation, whether your successor is a family member(s), an employee, or a third party. This book will show you how to achieve a successful transition of your business to the next generation of leaders. In fact, if you read and follow the steps outlined in this book, you will dramatically improve the survival and prosperity of your company’s future.

7. Succession Planning for Financial Advisors | By David Drau, Sr.

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This book is going to challenge you and everything you think you know about succession planning.

For independent advisors, succession planning is quickly becoming the cornerstone to a strategic growth strategy designed to perpetuate their business and their income streams beyond their own lifetime, while providing a multi-generational service platform that attracts and rewards younger advisors. This makes succession planning one of the most, if not the most, important practice management tools in this industry today.

As an independent financial advisor, now is the time to address the question of what will happen to your practice and your clients after you “exit the building.”  In most cases, the answers are right in front of you. Thankfully, Succession Planning for Financial Advisors: Building an Enduring Business has arrived to transform today’s practices into businesses designed to endure and prosper and serve generations of clients.

  • Learn how to create a “Lifestyle Succession Plan” that can provide a lifetime of income and benefits to the founder even as he/she gradually retires on the job
  • Unlock the power of equity management – the best planning and building tool an independent advisor owns
  • Learn how to attract and retain the best of the next generation to help you build a great business and to support your succession plans and care for your clients and their families
  • Determine precisely when to start a formal succession plan and related continuity plan so that your business can work for you when you need it most
  • Understand why succession planning and selling your business are completely different strategies, but how they can complement each other when used correctly

95% of independent financial service professionals are one owner practices.  To the positive, these practices are among the most valuable professional service models in America. But almost all advisors are assembling their practices using the wrong tools – tools borrowed from historically successful, but vastly different models including wirehouses, broker-dealers, and even OSJ’s and branch managers.  Revenue sharing, commission splitting and other eat-what-you-kill compensation methods dominate the independent sector and virtually ensure that today’s independent practices, if left unchanged, will not survive the end of their founder’s career.  It is time to change course and this book provides the map and the details to help you do just that.

For independent practice owners and staff members, advisors who want to transition to independence, as well as accountants, attorneys, coaches and others involved in the financial services space, there are invaluable lessons to be learned from Succession Planning for Financial Advisors. Written by the leading succession planning expert in the financial services industry, former securities regulator, M&A specialist, and founder of the nationally recognized consulting and equity management firm, FP Transitions, David Grau Sr., JD, has created an unmatched resource that will have an enduring and resounding impact on an entire industry.

8. The Leadership Pipeline | By Ram Charan

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An updated and revised version of the bestselling The Leadership Pipeline – the critical resource for how companies can grow leaders from the inside.

In business, leadership at every level is a requisite for company survival. Yet the leadership pipeline –the internal strategy to grow leaders – in many companies is dry or nonexistent. Drawing on their experiences at many Fortune 500 companies, the authors show how organizations can develop leadership at every level by identifying future leaders, assessing their corporate confidence, planning their development, and measuring their results.

New to this edition is 65 pages of new material to update the model, share new stories and add new advice based on the ten more years of experience. The authors have also added a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to the end of each chapter.

Q&A with Co-Author Steve Drotter


What is the single thing that has changed the most in leadership since The Leadership Pipeline was first published in 2000?

Since communication is such a central requirement for leaders, the changes in electronic communication have to be at the top of the list of impactful changes. Hand-held devices, social media, and speed of access combine to bombard every employee–leader or individual contributors alike–with messaging. What is good about that is very good–instant availability of people and information. What is bad about that is very bad–everything is “urgent” and everyone is distracted. Leaders have lost control of the agenda in meetings, in offices, and in peoples’ minds. A critical task for all leaders is to provide clarity of purpose and focus on the right outcomes. This has never been so important!

There are a lot of books on leadership, what sets The Leadership Pipeline apart?
The Leadership Pipeline isn’t theory. It is based on structured observation through over 1200 in-depth executive assessments of very successful people–contenders for CEO, CFO, Group Executive, and Business General Manager.

The Leadership Pipeline isn’t about fads or the latest new thing. It is based first on principles developed over 30 years.

The Leadership Pipeline isn’t based on one industry or one culture. Work in 100 companies spread through 40 countries provided the base data.

It provides real differentiation between the layers of leadership so the company or business has a way to keep leaders from working on the wrong level and failing to produce all the required leadership results.

What is a common misconception about what a leader should or should not be working on?
There are two common misconceptions about what leaders should or shouldn’t do. The first comes from the time horizon and the second comes from the uniqueness required of each layer.

The higher up a leadership position sits, the further out into the future the leader should focus. This time horizon difference starts very early in the leadership chain. An individual contributor should focus on the task at hand and its deadlines. Her boss, the first-line manager, should focus on annual plans. Her boss, the manager of managers should focus on a two-year time horizon. The time horizon extends for each layer above.

Each layer has a unique purpose that defines the contribution needed. Individual contributors deliver the product or service. Their boss, the first-line manager, enables delivery by defining requirements, training, coaching, giving feedback, and rewarding. Their boss, the manager of managers, drives productivity by making sure the first line manager actually manages. The next layer up, function managers, deliver competitive advantage. The next layer, business managers, deliver short and long-term profit.

Does this approach work for all companies, all sizes?
We have seen these concepts work with companies as small as 20 people and with global giants with several hundred thousand employees in 100 countries. The principles are exactly the same. Each layer has a unique purpose, each layer works in a different time horizon, and each layer must be differentiated from the layer below.

The leaders must provide clarity and focus no matter what the size of the company because the communication revolution affects and distracts everyone.

What are the central issues leaders must face in the next five to ten years?
The global financial crisis has resulted in pervasive uncertainty about markets, capital availability, the solvency of customers and suppliers, investment strategies, etc. The competition will be fierce from developing countries. Leaders at every level will have to focus more sharply on performance than ever before. Waste, false steps, tolerance for mediocre performance or performers, bad investment decisions, outdated processes, lack of empowerment, and the like will lead more quickly to business failure. Leaders will have to provide real clarity of desired outcomes for every employee, differentiated by layer, and enable focus on obtaining those outcomes by everyone in order for their business to survive

9. Your CEO Succession Playbook | By Natalie Michael

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You’ve heard it before: 50% of all CEO succession attempts fail. This means 50% must succeed! Learn from leaders who beat the odds in Your CEO Succession Playbook.

For Boards and transitioning CEOs, consider this book your strategic companion from the start of the process right through to the hand-off, and discover how to address common concerns along the way. Learn why a CEO should start a conversation about succession planning early, even if they have no intention of leaving their role anytime soon. Stay above the fray by mitigating and managing power plays. And understand how to build a practical framework to help the departing CEO start a new life chapter that moves from success to significance.

Your CEO Succession Playbook is a 6-phase game plan for each step in the CEO succession process, one that doesn’t require you to work harder and faster,but rather more intentionally. With these strategies, you will build trust,avoid politics, and gain confidence in your leadership pipeline.

Among dozens of tactics and a suite of tools, you will get:

  • A practical strategy for introducing the topic of CEO succession to your Board without prematurely accelerating succession;
  • A CEO success profile that you can use to benchmark candidates;
  • A model for determining who has the potential to be the next CEO;
  • Strategies for how to best develop future CEOs;
  • Advice on how to minimize ego-plays and power struggles and avoid “survival of the fittest” politics;
  • Communication samples and tips for each of the 6 key phases;
  • Leadership insights that distinguish who you need to be as a leader to build trust;
  • Self-coaching questions to help you do what’s right for your business.

10. Succession | By Noel Tichy

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Starting out at GE, where he headed up the company’s leadership institute and revamped the leadership pipeline under Jack Welch, Noel Tichy has served as a trusted advisor on management succession to such leading companies as Royal Dutch Shell, Nokia, Intel, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Merck, and Caterpillar.

Now Tichy draws on decades of hands-on experience working with CEOs and boards to provide a framework for building a smart, effective transition pipeline, whether for a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, a family business, a small start-up, or a non-profit.

Through revealing case studies like Hewlett Packard, IBM, Yahoo, P&G, Intel, and J.C. Penney, he examines why some companies fail and others succeed in training and sustaining the next generation of senior leaders. He highlights the common mistakes that can generate embarrassing headlines and may even call an organization’s survival into question, and reveals the best practices of those who got it right. Tichy also positions leadership talent development and succession where they belong: at the top of every leader’s agenda.

11. Succession Planning and Management | By David Berke

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The purpose of succession-related practices is to ensure that there are ready replacements for key positions in an organization so that turnover will not negatively affect the organization’s performance. CCL first published an annotated bibliography on succession planning in 1995. That bibliography focused primarily on the link between succession and management development. This bibliography has a broader scope; it is an update and expansion, commensurate with the maturation of this area of practice. In addition to linkages between succession and development, we also consider representative literature on CEO succession, high potentials, and succession systems and architecture. It is hoped that those who use this bibliography will find resources that help them in conceptualizing, planning, and implementing effective succession systems in their organizations.

12. Designing a Succession Plan for Your Law Practice | By Camille Stell

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The insider’s guide to selling a law practice, transferring ownership, and designing a great Life After Law, written by two of the top authorities in succession planning.

13. The Lawyer's Guide to Succession Planning | By John Olmstead

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Sixty-five percent of law firms’ equity partners in the U.S. are in their late 50s or early 60s. Over the next ten years, there will be many partners in firms of all sizes transitioning and exiting their practices. Many solos and sole owner attorneys as well as larger law firms are in “reactionary mode” and have not adequately prepared for the transition of firm leadership and client relationships. A firm’s very survival may very well depend upon coming to terms with succession and transition and doing so early. The purpose of this book is to provide guidance to firms of all sizes, especially smaller firms, and share succession and transition processes, approaches, and step-by-step action plans for solo practitioners, sole owners, and members of larger law firms. The book discusses what to do and what not to do, how to do it and provides case studies, sample action plans, sample succession plans, sample agreements, and other documents.

14. Family Business Succession | By John Ward

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Helps to prepare for passing the family business on to the next generation. Leaders will learn how to create a succession plan; how to develop opportunities for succession candidates; how to build consensus with the family and leaders on succession plans and finally leaders will learn when and how to let go of their own role in the business.

When value depends on how well you deliver, you need Strategic Supply Chain Management, Second Edition.

15. Business Succession Planning Answer Book | By Ann Burns

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The Business Succession Planning Answer Book explores the issues that arise when the current owners of a family business wish to retire or otherwise transfer ownership of the business. These issues include ensuring that the owners have enough money to retire on, providing for what will happen to the business whether there will there be a transfer of ownership or whether the business will dissolve, providing for who will take over the management of the business, and how ownership will be transferred. Discussing and resolving these issues within the family can also be complicated and contentious, depending on the family dynamics. Advice is often needed from a professional on how best to resolve these issues and set up a smooth transition of the business. Essentially, business succession can be broken down into three main categories: management, ownership, and taxes. This publication discusses the distinction between management and ownership, exploring the possibility of transferring the responsibility for managing the business to one child while transferring equal shares of business ownership to all children. Business succession planning also looks at the minimization of taxes upon death. This may involve asset transfer tax strategies, for example freezing the value of the business while transferring the ownership. This publication explains how to accomplish these goals.

16. Supply Chain Strategy | By Edward Frazell

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The industry standard in supply chain management―fully revised and updated to provide today’s logistics solutions

The proven pillars of success in logistics and supply chain management introduced in the first edition of Supply Chain Strategy now guide the supply chains of many of the world’s most successful organizations, including 3M, Abbott, BP, Coca-Cola, Disney, Hallmark, Honda, Mitsubishi, Oxxo-FEMSA, Payless, P&G, Pratt & Whitney, Wal-Mart, Rio Tinto, and many others.

This Second Edition features up-to-date case studies showing how those companies and more meet supply chain goals and helps you overcome your own challenges with the latest supply chain innovations, including big-data analytics, supply chain command and control centers, large-scale supply chain optimization, integrated supply chain planning, real-time global supply chain visibility, omni-channel logistics, re-shoring, global-sourcing optimization, cloud-based supply chain management, supply chain finance, global trade management, and fourth-party logistics.

17. 2006 Succession Planning | By David Berke

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Author of the bestselling text Supply Chain Management, John T. Mentzer′s companion book Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management: Twelve Drivers of Competitive Advantage has been developed as a supplemental text for any course dealing with strategy and supply chains. Written in an entertaining, accessible style, Mentzer identifies twelve drivers of competitive advantage as clear strategic points managers can use in their companies. Research from more than 400 books, articles, and papers, as well as interviews with over fifty executives in major global companies, inform these twelve drivers. The roles of all of the traditional business functions―marketing, sales, logistics, information systems, finance, customer services, and management―in supply chain management are also addressed.

18. Estate and Business Succession Planning | By Russell Fishkind

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EFFECTIVE ESTATE AND BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING UNDER THE NEW TAX LAW

A properly designed and implemented estate and/or business succession plan is key to providing for and protecting loved ones in the most tax-efficient manner possible. A team of advisors must be assembled from the disciplines of law, insurance, finance, accounting, and tax in order to create a plan that optimizes planning opportunities incorporating both the current state of law with the current state of one’s mind. J.K. Lasser Pro Estate and Business Succession Planning, Second Edition provides you with a unique and comprehensive analysis of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the new retirement distribution rules, Section 529 education plans, and split dollar insurance guidelines. It can help professionals and experienced individuals alike take advantage of opportunities presented by the new tax law, avoid common mistakes, and understand complex estate and business succession planning techniques. Written by two attorneys who specialize in estate planning matters, this easy-to-read book provides you with complete information and strategies for a variety of issues including:

  • How to plan in light of the phased-in provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
  • Top twenty factors to consider when creating one’s Will, as well as creating a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy
  • Annual Exclusion and Exemption Equivalent Planning
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts and Crummey Notices
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts and Foundations
  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Business Succession Planning Techniques
  • Split Dollar Plans
  • Section 529 education plans
  • Retirement distribution rules
  • Self-Canceling Installment Notes
  • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts
  • GRITs, GRATs, and GRUTs

And this is just a sampling of the expertise that the authors provide in a truly unique and understandable text. J.K. Lasser Pro Estate and Business Succession Planning, Second Edition contains all you need to make the most of the new tax law while navigating this complex area, and shows you how to protect and provide for loved ones for generations to come.

19. Business Succession Planning Answer Book 2013 | By Sally Grossman

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The Business Succession Planning Answer Book explores the issues that arise when the current owners of a family business wish to retire or otherwise transfer ownership of the business. These issues include ensuring that the owners have enough money to retire on, providing for what will happen to the business û whether there will there be a transfer of ownership or whether the business will dissolve, providing for who will take over the management of the business and how ownership will be transferred. Discussing and resolving these issues within the family can also be complicated and contentious, depending on the family dynamics. Advice is often needed from a professional on how best to resolve these issues and set up a smooth transition of the business. Essentially, business succession can be broken down into three main categories: management, ownership and taxes. This publication discusses the distinction between management and ownership, exploring the possibility of transferring the responsibility for managing the business to one child while transferring equal shares of business ownership to all children. Business succession planning also looks at the minimization of taxes upon death. This may involve asset transfer tax strategies, for example freezing the value of the business while transferring the ownership. This publication explains how to accomplish these goals.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Succession Planning

In the life of a company, its founders will change over time. A new generation will take over, and the question of who will lead the company is bound to arise. However, before you can even think about succession planning, you must first have a plan. Succession planning is a long-term process that involves assessing your current business needs and identifying potential skills gaps within your organization. It’s also about understanding the needs of those who are currently working for you as it pertains to their future plans. This list on the best books on succession planning will help you get there.

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

This page may contain affiliate links. This website may contain content that comes from Amazon. This website and its pages are not intended to constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. The information on this website and its pages are not intended to constitute investment advice and all content are the views and opinions of the author(s), contributors, or administrators. Please read our disclaimer for more info.

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hether you need a commercially packaged warehouse management system, a point of sale system, an inventory control system, or a direct-to-customer order management system, selecting the right system is a major undertaking. Best Books on Systems and...

What are the 4 types of Strategies Under Strategic Analysis?

What are the 4 types of Strategies Under Strategic Analysis?

s a business owner, you know that you need to make strategic decisions in order to succeed. But how do you know what type of decisions to make? And how do you determine the best strategy for your business? There are four types of strategies—and...

What are System Planning and Initial Investigation?

What are System Planning and Initial Investigation?

n the system planning and initial investigation, the main objective is to identify the most important requirements for the system. It is an important step to identify the relevant system requirements for the system as a whole, for the subsystems,...

What is Planning in System Development?

What is Planning in System Development?

lanning in system development is the process of designing, planning, and testing a software system. It can be used to develop automotive systems, healthcare systems, social networking platforms, and other digital systems. The goal is to create a...

What is a Strategic Planning System?

What is a Strategic Planning System?

 strategic planning system is a tool used by business owners and managers to plan, manage, and monitor their businesses. A SPS helps you understand your business and its potential threats, opportunities, and performance. It also helps you choose...

What are the Three Types of Planning?

What are the Three Types of Planning?

lanning is the process of designing, plotting, and executing an action or event to achieve the desired outcome. The three types of planning are: strategic, tactical, and operational. Tactical planning is an overarching plan that defines the...

What are the 4 types of Planning?

What are the 4 types of Planning?

he first step to business success is to decide how to define success for the company. In many cases, businesses aren't clear on what exactly they want to achieve, and this can lead to confusion as well as frustration when goals are not met....

What do you Mean Planning?

What do you Mean Planning?

lanning is all about decisions. There are lots of them, they happen every day, and each one has the potential to affect the future in some way. We should be good at making good decisions and we can't always be good at that. Planning helps us get...

What are Some Types of Systems?

What are Some Types of Systems?

 system is a collection of parts that work together to achieve a common goal. Systems can be physical or open, probabilistic or deterministic, and man-made or natural systems. Best Books on Systems and Planning What is a system? The term ‘system’...