Planning for Succession

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Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Canada’s Best Managed Companies


Lessons from Best Managed

Robert Lashin (CEO and President, Houle Electric Limited, Winner since 2012): The success of any company depends on successorship. You have to ensure that the best people always percolate to the top. That is why I say our company, one of the best managed companies in Canada, is a meritocracy. The best people will rise to the top. We recognize people by their abilities and we fast-track them into positions. We give them mentorship. We have mentorship programs. We have coaching programs. We will fast-track if they require various skills. We have learning management systems that we will use. It is people that make company successful, and so we want to recognize the high performers, give them that recognition throughout our company. We will even broadcast high performers and their successes in our monthly newsletters that we have.

Alex Campbell (CEO, Vista Projects Limited, Winner since 2013): We started in 2008 with a succession plan because I'm reaching a point where I'm going to be phasing out of the operation. So we have been working since then. Wee've established a management team that has now functioned for about five years and we have revamped our governance where we have a more effective Board of Directors now with external directors as well. My role this year is to phase out of being CEO and appoint somebody new in that role, and I'll remain as the chairman of the board. But we recognize that when you have a company where the founder is going to retire, sometimes that can be a disruption, so we spend a lot of effort trying to make that as smooth as possible, and we have a very competent team of people that can carry on with running the business.

Cory Bell (President, J.W. Lindsay Enterprises Limited, Winner since 2013): One of the specific items that we are looking at right now is expansion to the western coast, to Saskatchewan and west, and identifing one or two individuals within our company who can go and take that expansion and own it. That alone allows someone to run a business unit, which is very similar to running a company. It will be a branch of our company, but it will be on its own. That’s just an example of how we would create the opportunity so folks are to step into the higher level positions down the road.

Richard Rousseau (Vice President, D.L.G.L., Winner since 1999):

(French speaker, translated into English)

We have been planning for succession at D.L.G.L. for over 10 years now. Our president has decided to take semi-retirement. He wanted to try a new approach with us – one not usually seen in this industry. He chose key people from within the organization to form a management committee. For over 10 years now, the management committee has been shaping the company's destiny, and our president attends weekly meetings. I have to say – this works extremely well. I said before that communication is very open, something that supports this kind of management. The succession is there, within the management committee.

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