Scott Hunsaker Leads Executives on their Business Exit Strategy

Posted On June 24, 2022

Successful succession planning isn’t just a plan. It’s a process.

That’s what Scot Hunsaker has been preaching to his clients for nearly a decade as the Managing Partner of Ardent Group, an organization that mentors business leaders. And he hasn’t just preached it, he’s done it.

In 1999, Hunsaker bought the firm his father built – Counsilman Hunsaker, an engineering firm that designs aquatics facilities. He grew the company from one office to five, from 10 employees to 50, and took the business global. Among its projects are recreation centers at the University of Alabama and UAB and Olympic facilities in Atlanta and London.

Then in 2012, he sold it to his employees for cash, without an Employee Stock Ownership Program.

Hunsaker thought he was going to find another company and do the same thing all over again. But he found such a need in the business community for guidance in doing what he’d just done, preparing his company to be run after his departure, that he decided to provide that guidance instead.

So what’s the secret? Hunsaker shares the steps to a successful succession process with us in a recent episode of What’s Working with Cam Marston.

In short, start preparing your potential successors now, and give them opportunities to emerge:

  • Share and transfer information with your team members. It may be easier to fix problems yourself, but that’s doing what’s best for your company. It’s not preparing your employees to lead.
  • Develop a leadership bench. Instead of anointing the organization’s next leader, why not create a culture where leaders are developed and a successor can emerge on
    their own?
  • Develop and document repeatable best practices. The worst place to store the kind of institutional knowledge that potential successors will need is in your own head.
  • Manage change. Create and encourage ways to empower people in the organization to effect change at the system level.
  • Collaborate on what succession should look like, and trust with confidence. This means having authentic conversations and developing a deep understanding of what ownership and success really mean.

Join us to hear more from Hunsaker on what a successful succession process looks like and how long it takes to make it happen. For a deeper dive, check out the book he’s written on the subject: Heroic Ownership.

Categories: Succession Planning, What's Working with Cam Marston