Archive for the Category ◊ Business ◊

• Monday, January 13th, 2014

NEWS FLASH: We have a new blog home page!

We are still Ask The Strategist, only now, the site is autonomously run by the Publisher/Editor, Kesi Stribling.

“The decision to move Ask The Strategist from the direct affiliation with KSG Strategic Consulting enables us to reach a wider audience, many of whom are current fans and followers of our media brands outside of KSG,” says Stribling.

The newly refurbished Ask The Strategist will continue to feature posts on business, entrepreneurship, careers, and women, however, one of the additional benefits is a group of new guest bloggers, who will provide content on a number of industries and specialties, including diversity and nutrition.

Our first guest blogger, Delise, is a college student who will share her experiences navigating her internship and school during her semester-long stay in South Africa, beginning in February 2014. Her video blog will be housed under the new section on careers for college students.

What does this mean for you, our subscribers?

All subscribers on the current Ask The Strategist blog ( will be sent a link and instructions for subscribing to/following the new site for Ask The Strategist ( Support is available to answer any questions, or resolve difficulties signing up for the new blog, although a smooth transition for subscribers is anticipated.

Follow the new Ask The Strategist Blog now

Read our first post on the new site:
Ready, Set, Compete: American Express OPEN Forum Shares Tips  to Maximize 2014

NOTE: We are still in the process of migrating most content over to the new site. Until we have completed this process, archived blog posts may be retrieved from the former blog website. The site will be discontinued and inaccessible once this process is finished with, or without, advanced notice.

Thank you for your support, subscription, and reading our posts since Ask The Strategist debuted in 2011. We look forward to your continued interest and feedback.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. I am a current subscriber to Ask The Strategist. Will I be automatically added to the new site?

Because subscribers have to opt-in to receive blog posts, we ask that you visit our new home page, enter your email, and click “subscribe.” You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do, you will begin receiving new blog posts from Ask The Strategist.

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If you opt to continue your subscription on our new site, your blog notifications will not be interrupted. Once you have subscribed to the new blog, we will terminate your subscription on the old site.

You will also receive one final notification from us if you have not subscribed to the new blog by January 31, 2014.

3. How long do I have before I have to switch to the new site?

We are still migrating pertinent content over to the new Ask The Strategist blog site. You are strongly encouraged to activate your subscription to the new site as soon as possible.

The site will be shut down once we have completed migrating posts over to the new Ask The Strategist home page. So, don’t delay!

4. Will Ask The Strategist share my information with sponsors and advertisers?

No, Ask The Strategist will never share your contact information with our advertisers and sponsors.

5. I would like be a guest logger on Ask The Strategist. Whom should I contact?

While we have most of our guest bloggers for 2014, if you have demonstrated writing experience on issues that would be a good fit for the blog (i.e. entrepreneurship, careers, health, community, diversity, current events, youth, and women), please contact us. Be sure to include links to your blog or writing samples.


DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community,
and women. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. Never miss ASK THE STRATEGIST
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• Monday, December 16th, 2013

Five Valuable Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Beyoncé

Beyoncé's surprise CD release holds 5 valuable lessons for entrepreneurs. Photo Credit: Invision for Parkwood Entertainment

Whether or not you like Beyoncé or her music, she has proven, yet again, that she is at the top of her game and a stellar marketing magnate.  The singer stunned music industry insiders and her fans alike with her surprise fifth studio CD release with no fanfare last Friday, and in the process, has taught entrepreneurs five valuable lessons they can employ, whether they run empires, or are just getting started. The singer’s self-titled compilation enjoyed the highest sales of a debut on iTunes in the company’s history, with more than 600,000 units sold within three days of the release.

Innovation is key

Mrs. Carter has shown us how innovation – approaching situations, projects, and challenges with a fresh eye and a bit of creativity – can help unleash ideas
that, if they are good ones implemented at the right time, can propel businesses and brands to the next level of success, or awareness.

Being stagnant is no fun for those in charge of running a business. Ideas don’t flow, and frustration ensues. What we can learn from Beyoncé in her evolutionary approach to her career is that innovation never goes stale, no matter how established you are in your industry.

Know and Respect Your Brand

If you followed comments in the Twitterverse about Beyoncé’s CD release, many people – including her colleagues in entertainment – opined that she is the only established artist who could take such a nontraditional, yet aggressive, risk and succeed.

A huge part of the decision to use iTunes as the conduit for her new music, I assume, was greatly influenced by Beyoncé knowing and respecting her own brand. When you know that your product or service is one that appeals to your target audience, and your brand is appealing to your followers, customers, or constituency, it gives you latitude to explore creative ways to share new products or services. As the adage goes, confidence is key. If you are confident about your brand, others will often take you
seriously, even if your company is relatively unknown.

Risk Can Be Gratifying

Most of us are averse to extreme risk in growing or expanding business opportunities, or in some cases, decrease or redefine products or services offered. Taking a risk, after all, can mean lost revenue, staff reduction, or unfavorable feedback from customers or strategic alliances. As in financial investment, a certain level of risk is a necessary element in eventually reaping a big reward.

Even for an established artist like Beyoncé, a surprise CD release in a unique format was a very risky move, but she  has proven that taking chances, research, preparation, and a stellar work ethic combined are the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur. Whether or not the the end result is a roaring success, such as getting your product in a store that typically wouldn’t carry it, or launching a social media campaign that nets thousands of loyal customers, risk can help reduce the fear that keeps business owners and company decision-makers from evolving.

Plus, taking a risk and assessing its impact can be helpful in determining if timing, resources, or staffing influenced the outcome. Then, use that data to
retool the risk and try again, hopefully, with more success if it doesn’t go according to plan the first time.

Don’t Be Consumed By Public Opinion

In an age where people can berate you on social media, it takes a tough person to ignore the comments, harsh criticism, and opinions and get on with it. Without uttering a word, Beyoncé has let the recording industry and the world know that she is not consumed by what critics, or even her own record label, think of her music, and ultimately, the songstress’ strategy for how she wanted to distribute her music.

Great ideas or novel concepts aren’t always understood or appreciated, even though our guts, research, or soft promotions have told us otherwise. Hearing objections to our ideas, or being criticized because the time isn’t right, people don’t get the concept, or the idea has never been done before by the company, can influence our courage to boldly make the move anyway.

Feedback is essential from customers, strategic alliances, and collaborators; however, if harsh criticism is the sole consideration in deciding whether or not to move forward with an idea, you may need to ignore the contrarians and implement it anyway. Who knows? It could be the next Facebook,, or Trader Joe’s.


Keep Your Mouth Shut

I can only imagine how hard it was for Beyoncé to keep this historic entertainment move a secret. Confidentiality agreements aside, this is probably my favorite lesson from the songstress.

How many entrepreneurs have had ideas hijacked by people because they talked too much about their plans before all of the details were
in place and established in a way that no other person could lay claim to the concept?

While Beyoncé may not have worried about competition as the primary reason for keeping mum about the visual concept CD, great ideas
implemented at the right time can mean a financial bonanza, or priceless media coverage. She will undoubtedly enjoy both as the momentum continues.

I am sure that other entertainers are taking notes and learning from Beyoncé’s innovative and creative approach to her career, which may
influence how digital music as a primary CD release platform is used in the future. Ultimately, Beyoncé’s fearless – and lucrative – move is a lesson for
all business owners to take notice of and create their own unique ways of promoting their brand, services, and products.


DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Monday, January 14th, 2013
The New Face of Diversity: President and CEO of the American Conference on Diversity, Elizabeth Williams-Riley, joins us on The Strategy Sessions radio show on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

November’s election included sweeping legislative changes for many states, including the DREAM Act and same-sex marriage. In America, diversity has long been a discussion topic at work; however, it has taken on new meaning as social issues, including immigration and advocacy for women. Our guest, Elizabeth Williams-Riley, President and CEO of the American Conference on Diversity, joins us on The Strategy Sessions radio show to highlight how the conversation on diversity is re-shaping the workplace and communities.

Elizabeth Williams-Riley



  • How the definition of diversity has changed as legislative and societal changes have evolved
  • The impact November’s election will have on the workplace and the community, including states’ support of Same-Sex Marriage and the DREAM Act
  • The relevance of diversity training as women and people of color make strides in the workplace
  • How diversity impacts youth – bullying, leadership, and education
  • American Conference on Diversity programming to raise awareness, train, and prepare tomorrow’s leaders

Listen LIVE:

Have a question or comment for our guest?

Call (347) 539-5143


Tweet us @KesiStribling

For more information about Elizabeth Williams-Riley, or to view her bio, visit



Listen live

A radio show featuring industry leaders who share tips and strategies on business, careers, travel, health, and more, The Strategy Sessions airs live on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 11:00 a.m. ET. The show has featured luminaries representing corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration;; AAA; American Express; Women Impacting Public Policy; LifeLock; Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; Aetna; the American Heart Association; and, Lockheed Martin. For more information, or to download the podcast, visit Twitter hashtag #TheStrategySessions


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• Monday, December 03rd, 2012
Franchises 101 on The Strategy Sessions Radio Show on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Click on the image to listen live/download the podcast

Entrepreneur Magazine has listed the top 500 franchises in the United States for 2012, including Subway, 7-Eleven, and Servpro.

Listen live/download podcast

The number of franchises continues to grow; however, there is a lot to know before investing money, time, and effort to own a business and ensure profitability.

The Strategy Sessions radio show welcomes founding partners of Arnold Sai Law Firm LLP Justin Arnold, Esq. and Sai Pidatala, Esq. to share insight on the pitfalls to avoid when purchasing a franchise; operational issues that impact businesses; and, what businesses should do to close out 2012. The Strategy Sessions radio show is hosted by Washington, DC entrepreneur Kesi Stribling.


Have a question or comment for our guests?

Call (347) 539-5143


Tweet us @KesiStribling

For more information about our guests, including their bios, visit


DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the author(s).

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• Saturday, November 17th, 2012
Small Business Saturday on The Strategy Sessions radio show

Click on the logo for more info or guests' bios


Black Friday has long been considered the official start of the holiday shopping season for Americans. Small Business

Download podcast

Saturday is gaining momentum as the holiday shopping kick off for small businesses, and the customers they serve. Launched by American Express and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)  in 2010, this year’s Small Business Saturday is on November 24.

The Strategy Sessions radio show welcomes Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Marie C. Johns; WIPP Corporate Advisory Board Member and TargetGov Founder Gloria Larkin; and, Small Business Saturday Advisor and owner of Pinnacle Publishing Group, Inc. Patricia Norins to talk about Small Business Saturday and resources for businesses that want to participate.

Questions for our guests? Are you a business owner who participated in Small Business Saturday?

Call into the show: (347) 539-5143
Tweet @KesiStribling

Guests’ bios, Small Business Saturday resources including social media pages, are listed on our website at


DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the author(s).

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• Friday, August 24th, 2012


When branding goes wrong, and what you can do about it

The blogosphere has been abuzz with Microsoft’s newly unveiled logo, which replaces the former visual image created twenty-five years ago. While reaction from technology experts and graphic designers has thus far has been mixed, the change brings to mind another logo that so outraged customers, that the resulting hullabaloo led to the company to revert back to the original branding image.

What does your logo represent?

Gap is a shining example of a #fail when it comes to designing a new logo. When the company launched the refurbished image in 2010, customers complained so much that the clothing company went back to “iconic blue box logo” in less than a week after unveiling the new one.

Updating the company logo can be risky if you do not consider loyal customers or followers’ perception of the new branding, and the message you intend to convey. So, how can you know if a new logo will positively resonate with your audience? There are no guarantees that the image will be positively received when it is altered, however, keep the following considerations in mind:


  1. The new logo should capture the essence of your company, organization, or event. If your company provides childcare, you may not want to have a tattooed rocker as your image (yes, it has happened). There are other creative ways to develop a logo that appeal to a younger, hip clientele, such as an image of a stylish mom pushing a European baby stroller, rather than the typical cartoon character.
  2. The final logo should reflect collaboration from internal and external constituents. A focus group to review the top logo choices before selection should include employees or consultants who work on your company’s marketing, customer service, R&D, and program delivery, as well as interns who often bring a fresh approach. Most important, your group should include a few customers who can provide great feedback and impressions of the message your potential new logo conveys.
  3. Engage a designer who is open to input, change, and takes direction well. Whether the graphic designer creating the logo is in-house or contracted, there should be a sense of give-and-take during the creative process. Regular discussion, flow of ideas, and edits to the creation before finalizing are essential.
  4. Make fun of it! Your company can poll customers and fans by asking them to vote on the logo they like best. The campaign, which does not take long to implement, can be posted on the company website, in an eNews alert, or on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Your customers, fans, and followers can vote on the logo they like best, and allows the company’s team to monitor voting trends. Ultimately, the company should select the best logo to reflect the organization’s image, even if crowdsourcing suggests a different choice.

Talk back to us: What do you think about the new Microsoft logo? Do you have a success story about your new or re-designed logo, or is there a logo that you absolutely love? Let us know about by leaving a reply below.

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

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DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Monday, August 06th, 2012


In an era of seemingly uncivil people (cue slap fest on The Real Housewives of New Jersey), I recently stumbled upon Rules of Civility: The 110 Precepts That Guided Our First President in War and Peace, edited by Richard Brookhiser.

Originally published in 1997, with a healthy update from Brookhiser in 2003, Rules of Civility pre-empted the onslaught of reality television, and stories of soccer moms behaving badly on the field. This book takes a refreshing look at sage advice President George Washington followed, which he first found as a child in the 1700s.

While a few rules appear outdated (rule #9 – spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it), the majority of the ‘rules’ are practical ways of living…and conducting business affairs. More than a primer in etiquette, Rules of Civility focuses more on the motivation beyond the action. For example, rule #23 admonishes that “when you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased, but always show pity to the suffering offender.” The motivation is to treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Here are the top five career-related rules:

1. Rule #12: Shake not your head, feet, or legs, roll not the eyes, lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man’s face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak

These are a few non-verbal communication no-no’s that job seekers and entrepreneurs meeting with potential investors should avoid.

2. Rule #15: Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.

Be neat, tidy, and professionally garbed when you interview for a job, or go to work everyday; however, take care not to overly emphasize your appearance, for it can make you appear conceited and superficial.

3. Rule #35: Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.

Brevity, when speaking with business leaders – men and women – is always a plus.

4. Rule #40: Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.

The boss – or customer – is always right. Also, do not be heavy handed with your judgment, so as not to embarrass your co-workers or become the office know-it-all.

5. Rule #82: Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.

Enough said.

Which of these rules hit home the most for you?

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™


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• Monday, June 18th, 2012


The Strategy Sessions radio show on 6/19: Dan Berger of Social Tables talks all things events

Listen LIVE online:

A recent study revealed that the average couple spends $20,000 planning their dream wedding – half of the median yearly salary for many brides and grooms. Events can be costly in money, time, and effort. Our guest, Dan Berger of Social Tables, shares strategies on planning your special event, including corporate functions and reunions, with ease and style, in the most cost effective manner.

Social Tables founder at The Running of the Brides

Social Tables is an interactive online resource that enables users to manage guest lists, assign seating, share updates via social networks, and develop group categories. Featured in The Washington Post, Real Simple magazine, and Inc., Social Tables is the go-to resource for any special event. Kesi Stribling, host of The Strategy Sessions radio show, talks with Berger about how to plan a stellar event that leaves a lasting impression.

Social Tables online resource for any event

Questions for Dan? Ask him about all things events!
Call into the show: (347) 539-5143
Tweet @KesiStribling
Hashtag #TheStrategySessions on Twitter
View Dan’s bio and online resources on


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• Tuesday, June 05th, 2012

Show sponsor: Career Connect USA

The Strategy Sessions Radio Show on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 11:00 a.m. ET

Click here to LISTEN LIVE at 11:00 a.m. ET

GAINING GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS The Strategy Sessions is pleased to welcome Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN, on June 5, 2012 to discuss American Express OPEN Gaining Government Contracts training series for businesses, strategies for preparing for and winning government contracts, and Lourdes’ own personal success story.

American Express OPEN hosts government contracting series

American Express OPEN hosts the Gaining Government Contract series. The latest takes place in Washington, DC on June 15, 2012. Expert panelists including Ana Recio Harvey, Assistant Administrator for the Small Business Administration; Mark Oliver, Department of the Interior; and Emily Murphy, House Committee on Small Business. Workshops , business matching, and networking opportunities are additional highlights.


Lourdes Martin-Rosa of American Express OPEN

Our guest, Lourdes Martin-Rosa, is an Advisor on Government Contracting for American Express OPEN. A business lobbyist turned entrepreneur, Martin-Rosa coaches small business owners on how to navigate a seemingly tenuous process for preparing and competing for government contracts. To read Lourdes Martin-Rosa’s bio, and get government contracting resources, visit




Connect with The Strategy Sessions Radio Show

CALL-IN with questions: (347) 539-5143
EMAIL questions to
TWEET questions @KesiStribling


Click here to LISTEN LIVE TO THE SHOW ONLINE on Tuesday, 6/5/2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

ABOUT THE STRATEGY SESSIONS Featuring industry leaders and notables who share tips and strategies on business, careers, travel, health, and more, The Strategy Sessions radio show airs live on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 11am ET. Guests have included Robin Richards, CEO of; Millicent West, Director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; Glen MacDonnell of AAA; David Sheppard, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS; Dr. Valerie Wilson, Vice President of the National Urban League Policy Institute; and, Julie Silard Kantor, Executive Director of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in DC. Visit the site to download previous shows/podcasts on iTunes.

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• Thursday, August 25th, 2011


Apple names former COO Tim Cook as top leader (photo: official Apple portrait)

What Steve Jobs’ resignation letter reminds company leaders to do

Although Steve Jobs’ seemingly sudden departure yesterday as Apple’s CEO comes as no surprise to technologists and business leaders who have been following Jobs’ health concerns, his announcement continues to leave the global technology world reeling.

Steve Jobs’ resignation letter: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and   expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee. As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple. I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are   ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role. I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.”

The part of Steve Jobs’ resignation that is most striking to me is not the declaration of his intention to resign from his current position. I am fascinated by the immediate launch of the succession plan the company already had in place, in case of emergency, such as the departure of its Chief Executive Officer – former Chief Operating Officer at the company, Tim Cook is already listed on Apple’s website as CEO. Whether it is a health issue, corporate restructuring, or merger and acquisition, the succession plan, if constructed and implemented well, causes minimal disruption to the flow of business. A company like Apple, as the unarguable leader in global technology with the iPad, the iPhone, and iPod, cannot afford the perception of an unstable entity – there are billions of dollars in sales and stocks riding on the organization’s smooth transition.

But, how many companies or smaller nonprofit organizations have taken the proverbial bull by the horns and sketched out a workable succession plan before a major event or upheaval?

By definition, a succession plan encompasses the process for identifying current employees to fill key leadership roles in the event that there becomes a vacancy. The executed plan minimizes a lag in leadership, allays employee worries about corporate uncertainty in the midst of transition, and provides as little disruption to the production of goods and services at an organization as possible.

 Following are key issues to consider when developing a succession plan that we have used to aid clients in this daunting task:


Elements of a succession plan

  • Identify potential scenarios that would require the execution and implementation of a succession plan, such as funding changes, death, illness, corporate reorganization, merger or acquisition, physical move
  • Start with internal areas/departments that are most immediately affected by sudden change in the organization, including the executive level of leadership, customer service, human resources, program management, and fundraising
  • Assess employee knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to successfully handle the position, including technical skills, fiduciary and budgeting skills, knowledge of foreign languages, exercise sound judgment, and oral and written communication skills
  • Consult with department heads and employees to develop a list of individuals with promising leadership ability, their skill sets, and performance highlights to begin developing a list of potential employees to fill key roles
  • Engage the Board of Directors or Advisory Board and allow them to participate, as appropriate, in the succession planning process
  • Review your organization’s training programs and ensure that there is a methodology to capture employees’ KSAs, document them for future reference, and use them in the succession planning process
  • Conduct scenarios that enable selected staff to demonstrate skills and make critical decisions prior to transition into a new role, including managing projects, developing complex budgets and forecasts, employee supervision, and organizing a press conference
  • Document employees, their strengths, KSAs, and feedback from staff about the prospective leaders in a company database so that it can be referred to as needed to identify internal talent
  • Include a standard operating procedure (SOP) in the succession plan, so that if the plan needs to be implemented for a division with little warning, there is a step-by-step guide for selecting the employee, transitioning that person, and acclimating him to the new role

While these elements of a succession plan are not exhaustive, they will help get your organization started on the right track when developing or tweaking the plan. The most important thing to remember is that once the succession plan is cultivated, it should be available to all leadership within a company, and updated as needed.

Does your company have an outstanding succession plan? Leave a reply below to tell us about it.

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