The first time I came into contact with succession planning was several years ago. A friend, owning a software company, passed the leadership to a new CEO and remained as a Director. The new CEO had excelled in running multimillion dollar projects and shown his business skills managing these projects. Yet, my friend watched innovation and engagement drop under the new leader. After three years he took over the leadership again to save it. What had gone wrong?
Looking at his business case we found that he considered all factors except the successor’s fit to the organisations culture. The leadership philosophy of the founder and the successor were in stark contrast from people centred to control. Employees adapted to this through increased self-protection ensuring their personal ‘safety’ resulting in less ideas sharing and collegiality that had driven innovation.
A great example of succession planning is Westpac. The Board understood these issues. They started long before Gail Kelly resigned from her position. Lindsay Maxsted, the Westpac Chairman leading the succession process, explained: “Critical to the succession-planning process was absolute alignment with the outgoing CEO. For succession to be seamless, the board and the incumbent CEO must have similar views on CEO tenure. If an outsider joins as CEO, the risk is you automatically stop and start again, and progress stalls”.
These are the reasons why I am so excited about the Conscious Business AlignmentTM Framework which I introduced in previous articles. It really helps leaders understand alignment with the organisation to maximise its success and adaptability.
In the situation of my friend we now know that three areas of alignment were out of balance: the personal, the values and the mission of the successor were not aligned with the business creating dysfunction in how people worked. With this knowledge we developed additional criteria for selecting the next leader into his company.
Most medium sized or not-for-profit organisations cannot afford the consultants or the executive leadership development program implemented by Westpac. With this in mind I created the Leaders Alignment Tool. This is a cost effective way to help recruit the next leader or leadership team member. You can work with the Tool with or without external facilitation giving you full control over an immensely important process of handing your business or organisation to your successor.
Don’t follow in my friend’s footsteps and experience the heart break of watching your business go downhill. Get your succession planning right with the affordable price tag of AUD$497.00 supporting a seamless succession through the right leadership and culture fit.
For more information contact us or buy now from our shop.
Claudia introduced me to organisational alignment of people and culture in 2014 when I was succession planning the CEO for my company for the second time after it had gone badly the first time. With her help we developed additional selection criteria for this process to assess candidates for their fit with the organisations culture and leadership norms. The new CEO is now meeting my expectations which is fantastic.
Hanspeter Bouquet, Director, Sohard AG, Switzerland