Made in Group Meet-Up: Decoding Succession Challenges

By Made in Group
schedule31st Oct 23

Succession planning is a critical aspect of business management, encompassing the transition of ownership and roles within an organisation. Recently, a discussion group chaired by Jason Pitt of Made in Group brought together members to delve into the multifaceted world of succession planning. The conversation highlighted the importance of succession not only in terms of ownership but also within teams, ensuring business continuity and growth. Here, we'll explore the key takeaways and insights from the discussion.

Succession of Staff and Key Team Members

Tony Baldassarra highlighted the importance of developing succession plans for each plant, emphasising that having a roadmap in place from the beginning is essential. Shamus Bourke, stressed the need for a robust plan to replace retiring key personnel, focusing on skill set diversity.

Phil Stanley from TWP brought to light the importance of MRP (Material Requirements Planning) systems and the need to ensure that all processes are well-documented and cross-trained. This approach helps in preventing bottlenecks in information and encourages multi-skilled employees to move up and create specialised roles.

Maintaining Company Values

Several participants stressed the importance of preserving the company's core values during succession. For example, one participant mentioned the policy of protecting the business's foundation, ensuring that the business's passion and drive remain intact as it transitions to new leadership.

Allan Joyce discussed the role of HR strategy, focusing on compensation and culture. When three directors are retiring, a succession plan becomes crucial. A template helps in identifying key aspects of leadership and determining the talent pool at all levels. Shadow boards can be employed to nurture future leaders.

Mitigating Risk

Steve West, a risk broker supporting the manufacturing sector, underlined the importance of life protection for key individuals in the organisation. He emphasised the need to contemplate the value built in the business and manage the transition of client relationships over the years. By building a pipeline of talent and being entrepreneurial, businesses can secure their future.

Paul Stockhill added to the discussion by highlighting the importance of passing down skills, especially those with a high impact on the business. Key man insurance and risk management are vital tools for a smooth transition. He suggested a five-year timeline to ensure a successful transition.

Succession Planning and PR

Karen Tinkler emphasised the importance of public relations (PR) and reputation during succession planning. She highlighted the need to prepare for the buying process and ensure that the business's reputation is tied up in its PR efforts. This can be a crucial factor when selling a business, as it impacts the value it holds in the market.

Recruitment and Early Engagement

Jaz Khunkun discussed the role of skill sets in the business, especially when investing and transitioning responsibilities. He emphasised the need to start early by engaging staff and advisors and back-filling roles. Recruitment was deemed a crucial component of succession planning, and it was noted that building relationships with customers and suppliers is key in ensuring a smooth transition.


Succession planning is a complex and multifaceted process that encompasses the transition of ownership and roles within an organisation. The Made in Group discussion provided valuable insights into the challenges and strategies involved in succession planning. By focusing on preserving company values, mitigating risks, and engaging in proactive public relations and early recruitment, businesses can navigate the path of succession with confidence, ensuring continuity and growth for years to come.

Made in the Midlands hosts 50+ speakers annually at our monthly online industry meet ups where we discuss a range of topics critical to business success.

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