Succession Management


J.R. Filanc Construction is a general engineering contractor that specializes in constructing, renovating, and expanding water and wastewater treatment facilities. Founded in 1952, they have expanded to a team of more than 300 people, completing more than 300 major projects for counties, cities and private companies throughout the Southwest.

Marc Filanc, the current CEO, recognized the need to develop his internal leadership in order to build succession and reach the company's 2015 vision and mission. His target audience was his executive team and the next level of management in the company.

I4R was selected as the firm to assist Filanc with designing a customized Leadership Development Program focusing on the key competencies required to develop current and future leadership in support of succession. The objective was to develop and expand leadership competencies in managing vision and purpose and developing direct reports to assure successful succession within Filanc.

Identified Need

I4R's approach to fulfill the client's objective covered five essentials of succession management.

  1. Solidify the critical leadership competencies required for succession at Filanc.

  2. Provide a feedback instrument to solicit and provide feedback to participating leadership on the identified competencies.

  3. Target specific leadership competencies with training that would support the succession management going forward.

  4. Increase the communication and delegation competencies required in Developing Direct Reports and becoming managers as developers.

  5. Incorporate coaching for the participating leaders to assist with their development as well as support their coaching of direct reports.

We worked in partnership with the CEO and Human Resources to customize a program that would be most successful within the Filanc culture and become part of their ongoing structure versus a one-time intervention.


A key to the success was our collaboration with the Filanc executives and maintaining an open dialogue on the direction and priority for the time invested. The questions to be answered were "How do we determine the skills, attitudes and behaviors of our staff to fit the emerging changes we are facing with our newly formed vision and mission?" "What types of people do we need running and working for our business 5 years from now and what are we doing today to make sure we will have them in place?" " How should we be adjusting our management, staffing and development practices today to better prepare for the future workforce?"

The new Leadership Development Program that would support succession management consisted of the following elements:

  • Interviewed the executive team to identify the 13 key leadership competencies required for success in reaching the newly formed Vision and Mission and the associated succession.

  • Developed a customized 360 feedback assessment instrument incorporating the13 key leadership competencies. The 360 feedback assessment was distributed to the 20 participants at the front end of the program followed by two 180 feedback assessments distributed midway and at the end of the program. A second 360 will be provided a year later to confirm progress and changes.

  • Designed a customized 9 month Leadership Development Program targeting the 20 Executives and Managers.

  • Incorporated 6 all day Leadership Training sessions with a special emphasis on Communication and Developing of Direct Reports.

  • Provided one-one coaching to the 7 members of the Executive team and group coaching to the additional 13 managers participating in the program. Each member targeted one or two leadership competencies that were the focus of their coaching.


The participating leaders began implementing the newly identified and communicated competencies, tools and processes. There was a new recognition for the importance to build up their bench strength by downloading their knowledge and expertise along with coaching their direct reports rather than continuing to do the work themselves.

Succession was immediately put into action through a reorganization that promoted the VP of Operations to the newly created President/COO position. This allowed the CEO to focus on Business Development with their commitment to expand regionally. In addition, a second participating executive was selected to fill the VP of Operations position. Other employees have been identified to move into leadership roles as they expand their presence in new locations.

Managers apply the knowledge, tools and processes to coach and develop direct reports, communicate the mission and vision and move forward with implementing the vision and mission of the company.