Corporate Renewal Best Practice

Every organization needs to ensure continuous learning and increasing overall competency. In addition, younger employees are anxious to take on more responsibility, while senior employees are holding off on retirement. Some companies are creating a path for younger employees by moving the seniors aside, but a far better solution is to transition those valued senior employees to new roles where they can still drive results while sharing some accountability and providing mentoring to younger employees as they take on more responsibility.

This capitalizes on the strengths of the seniors and maintains their value to the organization. It also helps advance two key corporate goals:
1. Developing talent, and
2. Retaining the best young talent.

At a time of talent shortages and increased turnover, solutions like this can pay significant dividends.

What are you doing to ensure corporate renewal? Let me know if you have a best practice to share.

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
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New fad: CEO incentives for succession planning

A hot corporate fad, the Wall Street Journal reports, is paying CEOs incentives to do succession planning.  The reason is that new CEOs fail at a fairly high rate.  I find this interesting in several ways:

  • First, CEOs are notoriously bad at picking their own successors.  Yes, there are exceptions, one of the best was the Reg Jones selection of Jack Welch to succeed him at GE.  But there are many more failures than successes.
  • Second, it shows just how weak succession planning is at these companies.  Too often it’s an administrative exercise conducted by HR that generates a lot of paper and opinions, but doesn’t truly generate penetrating discussion of key people, and more importantly, result in meaningful development of candidates.  That the Jones to Welch transition was successful wasn’t a fluke–read about how that succession was conducted, and how succession is practiced at GE, and you’ll understand that it is a rigorous process.
  • Third, it points out the need for leaders to lead, not just in getting results, but in building internal capability for the future.  Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, and other notable management writers have always emphasized that a fundamental task of a manager/leader is to develop their direct reports–to make them more and more valuable.

Every company needs leaders who develop people and who drive a cogent succession process.  Is yours as rigorous and effective as it should be?

More on this topic:  For 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Leadership Pipeline, click here.

© Bob Legge 2014  All rights reserved

The Secrets to Effective Succession Plans

These are proven techniques to make succession planning effective, based on my 30+ years of advising scores of companies.

  1. The leader needs to be the driver and chief architect.  HR can be a facilitator, but should not lead succession planning.
  2. Expand your thinking beyond internal candidates–you don’t want the best of what’s available, but rather the best fit.
  3. Don’t begin by identifying candidates for each existing position.  Instead, identify the compentencies required for each position today and in the future.
  4. Use more than just opinions to make assessments.  Use information such as education, prior levels of responsibility, key successes, proven ability to learn, etc.
  5. Pay attention to critically important development points, such as the jump from functional responsibilities to P&L accountability.  Identify these and support them.
  6. Group meetings to discuss succession candidates are wasted if they are simply opinion focused.  Think through how to develop a group perspective on talent and development.
  7. Succession plans offer little real value.  What are your action plans to close gaps and accelerate critical development?
  8. You’ll learn a lot when you see the candidates each leader proposes for his/her position.  Some of the learning you won’t like.
  9. Hold leaders accountable for follow-through on succession actions.  That’s where the real  value is, and where succession often fails to deliver.
  10. Demonstrate leadership by being the first to follow-through with targeted development plans for your own potential candidates.



Bob Legge works with companies to improve individual and organizational performance. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, non-profits, education and government. To find out more, contact Bob at or call him at (585) 305-7853. Bob’s website is