Your lab’s oldest Baby Boomer managers are turning 62 and thinking about retirement!

There’s a ticking clock in your lab: the fast-approaching retirement of your best section managers, department heads, senior administrators, and pathologists! Yet there is still time for your lab or pathology group to address important succession planning opportunities.

“Every day, about 8,760 Baby Boomers turn 62 and become eligible for their social security benefits,” observed Jeff Smith, Vice-President of Leadership Development at Slone Partners.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

“We recognize that the average age of many laboratory managers is 55 to 65 years old—which means they are actively thinking about retirement plans. None of this is news, because the lab industry has openly discussed this situation all through this decade.”

Unfortunately, despite all the public talk, the majority of clinical laboratories and pathology groups lack a coherent and formal succession plan. That makes them extremely vulnerable to the unexpected retirement of a key manager, pathologist, or administrator. “There are several reasons why labs lack a formal succession plan,” stated Smith. “One is simply that people don’t like to deal with their own mortality and face the fact that some day they will have to leave the work place. Second, there is a hesitation for a lab manager to name a successor because that might create pressure for the older manager to retire sooner than he or she intended.

Smith has helped several major health system laboratory organizations develop and implement effective management succession plans in recent years as part of their management development programs. “One immediate benefit of your lab’s succession plan is that it creates a career path that people understand and it immediately motivates your top manager to contribute more and actively prepare themselves for increased management responsibilities,” noted Smith.

Smith will be leading a special audio conference titled “Succession Planning Essentials: Preparing Your Lab for the Coming Wave of Retiring Managers and Staff,” along with facilitator Priscilla Cherry, President, Laboratory Services, Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The event takes place on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. EST and details and registration can be found on Dark

The secrets to a successful laboratory management succession plan will be shared. Smith emphasizes that it is important to “get it right” from the start, so that the morale and motivation of up-and-coming managers in your laboratory can be increased and directed toward positive goals. He recommends three action items:

  • “First, make sure the people helping you design the succession planning program for your lab or pathology practice are discreet and that the structure of your succession plan is not leaked or disclosed prematurely. Besides all the obvious problems that result, such breaches undermine the credibility of the succession plan before it can even be implemented!
  • “Second, develop a structured approach to identifying your next generation of management talent and understand the right way to catch their interest and motivate them to undertake the training, mentoring, and responsibilities necessary for them to be ready to fill those designated management positions as your lab’s veteran managers reach their retirement date.
  • “Third, master the proven methods for using an effective succession plan as an ongoing management development tool. Not only can succession planning prepare your up’n comers for management promotions, but the succession plan is also a highly-effective tool for reshaping and energizing the working culture and productivity of your entire lab team!”
Priscilla Cherry

Priscilla Cherry

During this information-rich audio conference, Smith and Cherry will provide a complete template for a successful succession program. You’ll learn which approaches are most effective, as well as how to avoid the common pitfalls that too often snare unwary lab managers. Don’t forget that the audio conference format allows you to bring together all your key managers and human resource experts to participate in the call together. This shared learning experience creates the common learning needed to kick-start succession planning in your clinical lab or pathology group. Another benefit of this format is personal access to ask Jeff Smith and Priscilla Cherry all the important questions that relate to your laboratory’s specific circumstances and needs. Reserve your participation in this highly valuable audio conference by registering today!