Kanan Jaswal's Blog on Leadership

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Planning for the leader's succession

An organisation exists to fulfil its mission set by the leader after consultation with others within and without the organisation. And when the mission is accomplished its place is taken up by another which then engages the focus and attention of every one. The organisation, therefore, can be taken as an entity much longer lasting than the normal working life of a human being. And for the organisation not to be rendered leaderless due to the retirement, sudden incapacitation or death of the leader, they must have a succession plan in place and this when they are still going strong and have at least a couple of years more at the helms in the normal course.

The leader should select two or three much younger members of the senior management team and expose them to higher and higher responsibilities in a planned way, guide them when and where necessary, and coach them into thinking as the top person. The leader would let them compete against one another, and when the situation so demands, also cooperate with the sole objective of delivering the organisation’s better performance. After enough inter-departmental experience and having further honed their strategising and people skills the heirs apparent would be in a position to fill the top slot when the vacancy arises. And then the organisation would carry on under a new leader and with fresh vigour.

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