Four-Phase Process

Discovery Phase

The discovery phase emphasizes validation through a variety of fact-finding activities, including a comprehensive data review of work activities, service levels, operational results, member and employee satisfaction surveys, planning documents and financial reports. This effort also involves hearing from employees at all levels of the organization by conducting interviews with executive management and supervisors and facilitating front-line employee focus group sessions to gain insights on issues and opportunities directly from employees. During the discovery phase, we also review key benchmark performance data comparing the organization's operational performance with other regional utility cooperatives and best-in-class companies.

Process and Functional Review Phase

This phase involves reviewing and assessing the effectiveness of the co-op's core business processes and functional activities. We gain insights into the current application of business processes by assessing and analyzing the "as-is" processes, policies, and procedures and how they subsequently affect, hinder, or strengthen desired levels of efficiency and effectiveness. We assess how best practices are currently applied or should be considered to result in improved performance. The process analysis involves reviewing the process activities for improvement opportunities, including using technology, sharing critical business data and matching critical skill sets across business processes. This analysis provides an assessment of the critical business process knowledge needed across the organization to manage and sustain desired performance results.

Organization Structure Phase

The third phase of the organization assessment involves a comprehensive review of the organization structure, critical job descriptions, culture, interdepartmental relationships and staffing levels. We analyze how the current structure contributes to achieving desired business results. We review interdepartmental relationships and how department areas collaborate and work together to achieve common goals. We also assess the organization culture and business climate under which key values are fostered. Finally, we assess current staffing levels, identifying both possible overstaffed areas and areas where additional resources may be required. This review uncovers the important strategic opportunities within the organization and provides a basis to identify initiatives that go beyond functional silos to solve strategic problems.

Succession Planning Phase

This final phase involves formulating effective succession plan strategies to address knowledge capture of critical skill sets to meet both immediate and long-term goals. This phase involves quantifying critical gaps in the desired organization structure, identifying strategies to capture and transfer key job knowledge, and identifying retention and recruitment strategies to fill critical job assignments. Using the results of the organizational analysis, a series of facilitated succession planning workshops are conducted with the leadership staff to address the following important elements of succession planning:

  • Immediate and future gaps of critical jobs and skill sets

  • Depth of organizational knowledge and leadership capabilities

  • Risks and priority of important job duties

  • Capture and transfer of organization and business practice knowledge

  • Leadership development of desired qualifications and behaviors

  • Change management strategies

  • Retention and recruitment strategies


An organization-wide, in-depth analysis is a critical first step of a succession plan strategy to optimize and better align the available human resources for maximum performance. As part of these results, critical gaps are quantified in terms of skill sets and knowledge-based assignments at risk. Effective strategies are identified to overcome these gaps to meet the electric co-op's desired strategic goals. As described below, the objective should be a comprehensive effort to translate the results of the organization analysis to develop an effective succession plan that addresses both the short- and long-term challenges of impending retirements and possible employee transitions, while achieving the higher levels of performance and service for the electric co-op's member-consumers.

For more information, contact Henry Cano,, 602-621-3905.