Miller's Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.
Andrew Miller on strategy, operations, life balance and everything in between
Toronto – August 29, 2011 – The passing of Jack Layton has left a gaping hole in the leadership of the Canadian New Democrat Party. The leave of absence taken by Steve Jobs has left Apple with some big shoes to fill. These are just two examples of organizations that must immediately deal with a succession and leadership issue. Layton had already appointed Nicole Turmel as interim leader and Tim Cook has been making many of the decisions at Apple for the past six months. Will this ensure a smooth leadership transition? It will certainly make it easier. The one thing we can learn from both of these situations is that you never know when one of your top leadership positions will be vacated, so your organization better be prepared for it. Here are some ways to do that:
- Decentralize decision-making – Organizations that give employees the ability to make decisions on their own will be better insulated when someone from the top leaves as there is less reliance on them to make all decisions.
- Have a succession plan – When Jobs stepped down, he recommended that the board "execute the succession plan and appoint Tim Cook as CEO." No discussion needed as the plan had already been developed and approved.
- Create an 18-24 month plan for new product or services – The strategy may change a little, but if you already have the roadmap for the next year or two, it softens the blow when the leader steps down or is removed.
A great leader will always be missed, but there are ways you can reduce the risk on your organization and continue to push in the right direction. Let's hope that Apple and the NDP were well-enough prepared.
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