CEO Succession Planning – ‘Managing Dynamics with Predecessor’

In the last few days, we have seen incidents where succession planning has not gone as per desired script. Are there learning’s for organizational leaders and HR professionals on succession planning at CEO levels, especially in cases the predecessor continues to be an important “influencer” in the system. This note focuses on what successors should do when they take over the new assignment.

From the analysis there emerged five areas which successors should take care (Please read all “she” as “he/she”and “her” as “him/her”)

  • While a Successor (B) gets moving in line with the organization vision and strategy, it is important for her to judge the elements that she will preserve and the elements that she will change.
  • B needs to achieve not only the stated and explicit goals, but needs to figure out the unstated expectations from the role.
  • While choosing to develop a new team, B needs to be sensitive to ensure a harmonious relationship between new team members and individuals who have been in system for long, especially those considered close to A.
  • Establish personal and professional relationship with A. It is always good to get A’s blessings and keep her in the loop on what is happening / how things are shaping out. After an initial period, A and B could work out the working relationship.
  • Develop relationship with board members and other key influencers. This can help in pushing ideas and eventually create space for self.

I am sure like me many would have had to manage these transitions. And the success would be measured in organizations having a smooth CEO Succession transition. Please feel free to pass on feedback, if any.

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