The Problem with SFO Succession Planning

Author: Matt Wesley

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It seems that in succession work this exclusive focus on planning can be catastrophic. As we all know, with any plan, the rubber hits the road in execution. In corporate America, it is evident that most strategic change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives (most studies of C-suite sponsored change show that 80-90% of these initiatives fail to achieve the expected results). Increasingly this is being seen as an issue of too much time spent in planning and too little time spent in preparing the culture to adopt the desired change. The assumption has been that if you plan really well, you will have taken culture into account, and the people will respond.

This type of planning involves clarifying objectives, strategic thinking about complex issues, discussion about alignment, seeking input from various stakeholder groups (including employees), communicating the plan and so on. Months are often spent on the planning and launch phase of these initiatives – only to have those months of preparation fade into obscure institutional memory and soon to be replaced by the next big initiative.

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