This post is the final installment of a five-part series on best practices in CEO succession. The purpose of the series is to share some of the insights I’ve gained while helping companies manage the messy, sometimes confusing terrain of CEO succession.
Question 5: When Should Planning Begin, and What Time Horizon Should Be Considered?
As I mentioned before, succession planning should be an ongoing process. For firms that don’t have a planning process in place, starting tomorrow is not too soon. A CEO transition is among the most significant, broad-reaching changes for any organization. This sort of change has an effect on every constituent (customers, employees, board members, shareholders, etc.). As such, the potential for error is large and the consequences can be significant. So get out your scout hat and be prepared. Start NOW.
But what time horizon makes sense?
This post is the fourth of a five-part series on best practices in CEO succession. The purpose of the series is to share some of the insights I’ve gained while helping companies manage the messy, sometimes confusing terrain of CEO succession.
Question 4: How Transparent is the Succession Process?
With CEO succession—as in most aspects of life—transparency is very important. The tricky part is how soon to be transparent about which information. For example, I am working with a client whose board members found out their CEO was leaving one hour before a shareholder meeting. Technically, this is information the shareholders should know, but one hour was clearly not enough time to communicate with the entire board, make all the decisions necessary, and then craft a clear, confident message.
The responsible course of action was to wait, formulate a plan, and then share it publicly. In this case it took almost a week, in some cases it could be faster.
100% real time transparency is not needed, but it is important to be as transparent as possible. What kinds of things should be transparent?