Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who is it Next ?

Internal or external, younger or older, Indian or an outsider, these are some of the choices infront of the committees formed by the Tata Group as well as the IT giant Infosys, and generally many other firms in order to look out for the successors as the Leading man of these groups are all set to step down finishing off an inning full of great works which comprised not just of mere leadership but of changing the directions & steering ahead the major Indian Enterprises.Of course,these committees face an enormous task ahead.The decision can be nothing less than a complete branch of management.Mind you, it is not only the business which faces this situation, the same applies to any field.

For instance,
- the succession of Dalai Lama as a religious head,
- the entertainment indutry, where the star kid tries to carry his parent's legacy, or
- the same goes to even the sports field & as we see the bigger the legacy,
- the more the pressure it is for the successor as the comparisons are bound to happen.

Both the leader & the successor, who is all set to fill some really noteworthy positions, have to be comfortable with each other including a correct balance of trust & confidence apart from the knowledge & much needed practical experience required to head such a big firm with the same zeal & sense & to most of all the ability to fill in the shoes of someone being so looked upon by everyone from the stakeholders to board members & infact, even the competitors.

A peek into the history of some great companies includes how these firms handled the same scenario when faced with a question about Succession & how working on this eventually led to something called "Succession Management".

The idea of  'Succession Management', started when Walter Mahler helped to shape succession of General Electric back in the 1970s, himself inspired by Peter Drucker's  (a famous consultant himelf) books. GE's succession procedure became the most widely followed one as GE managed to grow its leaders consistently.On the other hand, once competitor of GE, Westinghouse landed to bankruptcy due to a bad managed succession.Moreover, while considering the scenario in India, there is a thin line between family business & a global company.So overall, it is the safest bet to start the succession planning well in advance & follow certain fool-proof procedures with some intelligent innovations which might lead to a successful succession.In short have a good idea about the Succession Management & plan it well.

PS :
1. An amazing write-up on Succession Planning by A V Vedpuriswar (Warning : A pdf file)
2. Another good read for the Same (Warning : Again a pdf )


  1. well said!! Ratan tata should have read this blog, when he planned not to get married.. guess he din't have great insightful writers like you.. hope this generation won't commit such mistake ...

  2. Lol.. Do I see a S for Sarcasm ? :)