THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 15


Succession planning may seem like an overwhelming undertaking for a
small or even a large utility. With the proper assistance, the scope of such an
undertaking can be mitigated and managed. The bigger challenge is what will
happen if such a utility doesn't pay attention to their key internal players.

The succession problem is both a challenge and an
opportunity. In their 2014 study, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
described the overall situation well and drilled down to discuss
issues that are unique to the utility world. The utility world has a
higher proportion of workers eligible for retirement during the
period examined in this research, showing that 62 percent of
the workforce has the potential to retire by 2019. Even more, 52
percent of skilled engineers and executives are eligible to retire
during this period. It is sobering to consider that over half of the
senior leaders in this industry might leave the industry between
now and 2019. Seeing this kind of data should cause any leader
to take action immediately.
The PwC research shows a number of key reasons for concern
in light of the numbers shown above. They are:
n	
A decline in retention rates;
n	
The inability to identify and develop key talent consistently;
n	
Disconnected process within the organizations; and,
n	
A lack of reliable talent data.
Ryan Search & Consulting has been part of the process for
many companies going through succession planning and has
worked with firms at varying stages of succession and transition.
This takes time and it also involves much discussion, planning
and work. The following framework is used with firms Ryan
Search & Consulting is engaged with:
n	
Identify key talent within the organization;
n	
Assess this talent using a validated process that helps
provide measurable criteria that can be used for decision
making;
n	
Implement a process to develop talent within the
organization as discussed in conjunction with the key leaders
of the firm; and,
n	
Source talent on the external market for roles that cannot
readily be filled with internal talent.
It is important to recognize the order of the items listed
above as they are in this order for specific reasons. The rationale
for this order is because every organization needs to examine
and identify key talent on a regular basis. This can be done in a
number of ways, but using a standardized and well-developed
performance management system is one way to do so. Many
organizations do not have a well-developed system in place nor
do they use the data in an appropriate manner. This situation
puts most organizations behind in their pursuit at the outset.
After having devised who these key players are, a number
of methods are used to determine the capabilities of these key

performers. A few of the methods employed might include the
following:
n 360 feedback process;
n Cognitive assessment;
n Behavior, motivator and talent assessment; and,
n Interview process with ongoing coaching.
A combination of the methods shown above will give one an
in-depth view into the skills, knowledge and abilities of the key
performers who have been identified.
A second area where there are shortcomings in many
organizations is in the implementation of a talent development
system that identifies specific development plans for each of
these key performers. A one-size-fits-all program will not provide
the depth and focus needed for appropriate development. Only
when you have a specific development plan for each individual
will you get the best outcomes for all involved.
Ryan Search & Consulting's recent work has utilized several
of the listed strategies with organizations who have the time
available to use the methods described in this article. There are
also those other organizations that waited too long and have
had to resort to more of an external process to identify and
obtain the talent needed to keep the group from overwhelming
challenges. This is reminiscent of the oil filter commercial from
several decades ago with the key line, "You can pay me now,
or you can pay me later." The key to learning for any current
leader and board member of a gas utility is that there is never a
bad time to initiate a succession planning process and the key
elements of the process that help to support its success.
Succession planning may seem like an overwhelming
undertaking for a small or even a large utility. With the proper
assistance, the scope of such an undertaking can be mitigated
and managed. The bigger challenge is what will happen if such
a utility doesn't pay attention to their key internal players. Lack
of recognition, identification and focus on these key players will
only allow these individuals to be recognized by outside entities
who will be more than willing to do what is necessary to move
them to a company that will invest in and develop them.
The cost of failure is huge. The cost of succession planning
pales in comparison.
Which direction will your utility take in order to become
successful not only now, but in the future?
Dan Ryan is Founding Principal at Ryan Search & Consulting. Find
out more at http://ryansearch.net or email dan@ryansearch.net.

THE SOURCE | WINTER 2016, VOL. 9, ISSUE 2 15


http://www.ryansearch.net

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Winter 2016

First Person
APGA Events
Industry Update: Furnace Rule Report
The Future of Natural Gas in Zero Energy Building Design
Bringing Success to Succession in the Utility World
Taking a Fresh Look at Distributed Generation and CHP
Why Energy Codes Matter and How They Impact Your Utility
Environmental Group and Utility Work Together
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
At Last
Advertisers’ Index/ Advertiser.com
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - bellyband1
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - bellyband2
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - cover1
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - cover2
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 3
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 4
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 5
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 6
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - First Person
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - APGA Events
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 9
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Industry Update: Furnace Rule Report
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - The Future of Natural Gas in Zero Energy Building Design
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 12
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 13
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Bringing Success to Succession in the Utility World
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 15
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Taking a Fresh Look at Distributed Generation and CHP
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 17
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 18
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 19
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Why Energy Codes Matter and How They Impact Your Utility
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 21
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Environmental Group and Utility Work Together
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 23
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Legislative Outlook
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 25
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - The Pipeline
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Marketing Matters
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 28
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 29
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - 30
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - Advertisers’ Index/ Advertiser.com
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - cover4
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - outsert1
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - outsert2
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - outsert3
THE SOURCE - Winter 2016 - outsert4
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