If history teaches us anything, it’s that succession is the biggest threat facing any organization. Some of the greatest leadership giants in history have been followed by dwarfs. Think Caesar Augustus (followed by demented Nero and Caligula). It plagues politics, businesses and not-for-profits. Sometimes it fails because:
- Leaders hold on to the bitter end not wanting to think that they’re mortal
- Families choose the right last name over merit
- Organizations try for a hail mary pass and bring in someone from the outside that doesn’t fit the values
- Giants surround themselves by dwarfs and when the giant leaves, a dwarf takes over
Nothing is more important than getting the right people in the right seats. So, if you were to leave your job, who would your successor be? Who are you training, mentoring, building in to? It takes a team to build a company (or a department) but it only takes one person to wreck the whole thing.