Succession Plans Lacking Within Many Creative Organizations, Survey Suggests

    TORONTO, April 10 /CNW/ - "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst,"
the old adage advises, but according to a recent survey, many executives may
be doing more hoping than preparing. Nearly four out of 10 (39 per cent)
advertising and marketing executives surveyed feel uncertain that someone in
their company could fill their shoes if they had to suddenly leave their
    The poll includes 250 responses -- 125 advertising executives and 125
senior marketing executives. It was conducted by an independent research firm
and developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing
marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis.
    Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "If you had to step down
from your position tomorrow, how confident are you that someone in your
agency/firm would be prepared to assume your responsibilities?" Their

                  Very confident........... 22%
                  Somewhat confident....... 38%
                  Not very confident....... 25%
                  Not at all confident..... 14%
                  Don't know...............  1%

    "Succession planning is a lot like disaster planning -- people know they
should do it, but it's easy to let it slip through the cracks," said Dave
Willmer, executive director of The Creative Group.
    Unlike disaster planning, however, a formal succession program has
benefits that extend beyond crisis management, Willmer noted. "Companies that
create structured succession programs and provide leadership training help
their employees grow professionally, which can boost loyalty and

    The Creative Group offers these tips for developing an effective
succession strategy:

    -   Start early. It can take time to identify and groom a promising
        candidate for a leadership role, so begin the process early. Even if
        you doubt you'll need a replacement anytime soon, preparing someone
        to assume your duties creates a safety net should you have to leave
        your post, either short term or indefinitely.

    -   Keep an open mind. While the obvious successor may be the "second in
        command," don't overlook other promising employees. Identify the
        skills necessary to excel in the role; then consider candidates who
        show the greatest potential for acquiring them.

    -   Share the vision. Include prospective managers in strategy
        discussions to help them acquire planning and leadership skills as
        well as a broad vision of the company and its goals.

    -   Make it ongoing. Provide regular feedback to protégés so they can
        continue to progress and meet expectations. Offering perks or
        promotions is also important in keeping top employees engaged and
        committed to their career paths within the company.

    -   Take a trial run. Your vacation is a good time to have a potential
        successor assume your responsibilities. The employee will gain
        experience while you learn how prepared the person is to take on a
        greater role.

    The Creative Group has offices in major markets across the United States
and in Canada, and offers online job search services at

For further information:

CREATIVE GROUP, Contact: Jason Chapman, (416) 365-2010 extension 62070,

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