Yet, those well-intentioned plans rarely result in a successful passing of the leadership torch. Search firms are busier than ever finding a replacement for a retiring executive or one who was lured away by another search firm. Some organizations decide to merge or sell because there isn’t a strong internal leader to succeed a retiring founder or owner. And those organizations who invest in leadership development for their own staff experience an exodus of some of them who suddenly become attractive to other organizations or grow impatient waiting for their promotional opportunity.
We've had the opportunity to work with several organizations that have, with every positive intention, sought to develop a succession plan that would yield a depth of bench strength from which they could seamlessly replace departing executives. Yet, rarely have their plans materialized in the way they had hoped. In this series of articles, we’ll share what we’ve observed and my thoughts as to why these plans have failed.