CEO Succession Planning is Far From Random
A response to NY Times Dealbook
In response to a recent NY Times Dealbook article, Ron Lumbra and Charles Tribbett of Russell Reynolds Associates outline that CEO succession, when done right, is far from ‘random’.
"In reference to “When Picking a CEO Is More Random than Wise,” we respectfully reply that CEO selection done right is anything but random. While it may not be apparent from the outside, boards today hold themselves accountable when planning and taking action on CEO succession. As veterans of numerous CEO searches through Russell Reynolds Associates, we work with boards to devise succession strategies that take into account the organization’s immediate and long-term goals, as well as the culture.
Finding a leader who fits these goals can be a daunting task—and strong boards mitigate the risk inherent in CEO selection by leveraging a comprehensive assessment process for both internal and external candidates. Psychometric testing, behavioral interviews and benchmarking against specific qualities, expertise and skill sets can help signal a candidate’s success in the role. In fact, our own research indicates that CEOs display characteristics that are distinct from non-CEOs, from risk taking, to taking action and “reading” others. Knowing these differences can be critical in selecting the best candidate.
Boards, now more than ever, understand their obligation and the visibility of their obligation: CEO succession is a top priority and mandates a thorough, professional and rigorous process that selects effective leadership and positions an organization to perform at its highest level. This is achieved by following a process that is anything but random."
Learn more about successfully managing CEO succession: CEO Succession Planning: A Framework for Boards.