Succession

Join me as we explore my latest coaching insights.

Development and succession: Two sides of the same coin is my 101st post on Letting go. Stepping up. Fittingly, it is my first post at the start of the new 2020s decade. Development and succession: Two sides of the same coin is also special in that it accompanies the unveiling of my new look website. After seven years, the old site needed to communicate more clearly how I practice as an executive coach, aligning my individual client with their organisation’s strategy, culture, structure and systems – all in the context of the forces at work in the external environment.

Relationships seldom evolve as planned or expected. Conflict and succession are fellow travellers. Whether the succession relationship is between two people, e.g. between incumbent and putative successor, or in a group like a family business, a professional partnership or an executive team, research and experience show that prevention is better than cure. The fundamental cause of conflict in all of these situations is poor alignment of expectations and assumptions by the incumbent and/or the successor. In addition, others connected with this relationship can confound the situation by their behaviours towards the incumbent and the successor.

In my work as an executive coach succession and the related transitions for the people on each side of the process are omnipresent. Yet much of the time neither the person trying to let go, nor the person wanting to step up, adequately understands what’s involved in successful succession and the time it takes. Successful succession takes years; it cannot be hurried. Whether it’s a matriarch or patriarch letting go to younger family members, a CEO grooming one or more potential successors, or a senior partner transitioning her/his professional practice to a junior protégé, the patterns and ingredients of success are the same.