Succession Planning

Premier investment firm Berkshire Hathway released their annual report for the fiscal year 2006 on March 1, 2007 and all you budding investment and fund managers, I’ve got some good news for you.

Investment Guru Warren Buffet, who by most of us is considered the father of investments, is well on his goal to finding a worthy successor to his legacy. Quote-unquote Buffet wants to find a candidate to “succeed me as Berkshire’s chief investment officer when the need for someone to do that arises.” Read this article in the Fortune website.

Now all you guys who’ve done your MBAs and feel that you have what it takes to take on this great man’s legacy and make it your own, I strongly urge you to pick up the cudgel and take on the Bulls of Wall Street (or for that matter all the bourses of the world) head on.

While this news item might not seem too special or pathbreaking when viewed in isolation, it clearly underlines the importance that corporates today are giving to succession planning. Succession planning in its true and complete form does not just involve identification of a second-in-command who’ll take over as and when the top guy is ready to retire. It is a careful and deliberate process where young managers are groomed to take over the reins of an corporation almost right from the time that this guy joins an organisation.

In today’s world where corporate loyalty as a concept is alien and unrealistic, certain companies and more specifically certain CEOs have been very successful in creating a culture within companies where succession planning is not only essential but also very critical to the business continuity. A good example would be General Electric, where Jack Welch took the concept of succession planning to a new level altogether with his systems and procedures for identification and grooming of the second rung of leaders who today are carrying on the legacy of excellence that all the previous leaders of GE have established.

As for me, in my own small way I engage in certain exercises to make myself dispensable as far as the entire team or my project is concerned. This is my way of achieving two important objectives. Firstly, this makes my team members happier and more motivated to perform newer and challenging tasks and projects. Secondly, it keeps me more mobile (professionally) to latch on to any new opportunity that might come my way.

As usual, please do let me know your views on succession planning and its relevance by commenting on this post.

Cheers……………..Jamster

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3 thoughts on “Succession Planning

  1. Decided to visit your blog after your barefaced advertisement.making yourself dispensable?? how does one do that? And to what end? shouldn’t it be the other way round – making yourself indispensable? anywhere in management from juniors mgmt to cxos, the idea is to have that touch only YOU can provide. Its the culmination of knowledge, experience and intelligence that a person provides that makes a good management person. Firstly its not easily put into so many process steps that someone can just step in and have it rolling the next minute. Secondly you’re not working for a company you own, an NGO or the government, so its never the point to do more for the company than the company does for you. Innovation in the workplace is welcome, but making yourself replaceable is not.Nirmal

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