Succession Planning

by | May 15, 2013

Succession Planning

Succession Planning

 A Very Long View

A. G. Lafley, the respected past Chairman and CEO of Proctor and Gamble, after taking over in 2000 made a strategic decision to focus on building an internal leadership pipeline that  produced numerous CEO candidates. He elevated leadership development to the same level of importance as business strategy.

On the other hand there are numerous examples of businesses – whether for profit or not for profit – which have unravelled dramatically when the CEO goes and succession has not been thoroughly planned. For example Hewlett-Packard in just over ten years to 2010 made three appointments of CEOs. The failure of their CEOs and Board to put in place a process to address succession cost them dearly.

What is true in business is also true for the wider economy and national well-being. The stronger the focus on bringing on the next generation in such a way that they have the skills and ability to generate prosperity in their time is vital for us all.

Since this subject of forming the next generation for success has so many angles, I will look at some specific skills we can give our young people in their teenage and early adulthood years that will mean they will succeed.

Love the Drive

When we drive ourselves to perform better than we ever thought we could, when our focus is on achieving and increasing personal excellence, we manage pressure better. We need to foster a drive for high performance in our young people and teach the life skill of concentrating on what they can control; that is, their own performance .Once these skills are practiced and become habit we can prepare young people to persevere in high stress situations.  Learning to love the pressure is a tremendously valuable lesson to learn.

Develop a Pre-occupation with the Long Term

The demands , deadlines and pressures which we have to meet tend to force us to get so pre-occupied with the present that we go through life doing the next thing and filling out our day without much sense of real achievement, our lists and goals become purely short term. How many times have you heard of a university graduate who doesn’t know what they will do once they finish or those who gain a place at university only to ‘find out’ as early as two weeks into the course that the subject is not for them? They have only thought short term – onto the next thing.

There is real benefit therefore in developing a focus on long-term goals and becoming increasingly preoccupied with long-range aspirations. Jonny Wilkinson, the famous English professional rugby union player at the age of seven had a goal, “I want to play for England, that’s all I want” Short term goals are important but only against the backdrop of long term goals. The trick is for the next generation to learn that long term success is the result of many small shorter term achievements. Short term goals are important in that they map out specific areas which can affect performance and make possible the achievement of the ultimate goal. The value of imparting the skill of goal setting and integrating long, medium and short term goals is an enormously valuable life skill. If the succeeding generation can use the power which comes through goal setting they will go on to achieve significantly more in life than they could achieve without goals. This has been proved by a number of academic studies.

Making Champions

The LMI Making of a Champion programme for high performance living is geared to students and adults from 14 years old and upwards.

It provides an inspirational and motivational structure that will allow young people to think through what they really want to do, be and have in the future. It provides a consistent message of the power of goal setting and imparts that very powerful life skill – goal setting.

The programmes are geared to develop self-confidence as the participants explore a life full of possibilities, a future holding more for them than perhaps they had realised. The outcome we are looking for is for today’s young people to develop the mind-set that will set them apart in the race of life ahead for them. A succeeding generation set up for high levels of personal achievement and success is a worthy and exciting ambition.

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