Succession Done Stupidly: Negligent planning at the highest level

Headline (edited for brevity): Swiss bank UBS named Axel Weber as its next chairman in a surprise move that robbed rival Deutsche Bank of its top candidate to succeed its chief Josef Ackermann in 2013.

Make no mistake, this is Board negligence on the part of Deutsche Bank, pure and simple.

They should vote out the entire lot.

This sort of crap really ticks me off. They call it “succession planning,” and the key movement in their entire plan is based on someone with which they have zero relationship, and zero knowledge of hiring success. In fact, they were merely hoping that this über-CEO would be available whenever they beck and called.

Apparently, Weber saw it differently.

Succession planning and replacement planning are not necessarily the same thing. It’s fairly common that one or two of your key positions will require a look outside the organization, so that, and and of itself, is not catastrophic.

This colossal blunder should teach us two things (three, if you count the revelation of the sheer stupidity of Deutsche Bank’s board):

1. When your senior-most operations position must be filled from outside — as part of a defined plan — your succession plan is kaput (I’m liking this whole German theme), and you are making the conscious decision to not develop those who could assume the responsibilities.

Why would you do something so idiotic?

2. Anytime — anytime — your defined succession plan requires you to go outside the organization for necessary talent, make certain that either (a) your anointed wunderkinder is both aware and agreeable to your advances, and (b) that, should Herr Von Bundespräsident develop wanderlust and decide to align with another power, you have options.

Read my lips: If your succession plan, any plan, relies solely on the hiring of one specific outsider to fill a key, necessary role in your organization, you have no plan at all.

Succession planning should prevent stupidity, not cause it.

But that’s just me…

KB

Kevin Berchelmann
www.triangleperformance.com

Comments

  1. says

    "If your succession plan, any plan, relies solely on the hiring of one specific outsider to fill a key, necessary role in your organization, you have no plan at all."

    My exact thought when I first received your tweet!

    All I can say is Amen!

  2. says

    "If your succession plan, any plan, relies solely on the hiring of one specific outsider to fill a key, necessary role in your organization, you have no plan at all."

    That was my first thought when I read your LinkedIn post!

    All I can say is Amen!!

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