A robust leadership continuity plan serves as a roadmap for talent management, prior to the leadership transition;
unfortunately, countless organizations often have not provided the executive coaching to enable the internal CFO or COO to succeed as CEO in an external leadership role. This makes the distinction between leadership
quite critical to an organization's internally-focused successor
planning, as distinct from the externally-focused succession
planning. Often the CEO and CFO/COO have worked as a strong complementary team, with clearly defined internal and external roles. This partnership is often endorsed as “successor planning
While recruiting a chief executive, search committees often limit their expectations to how the role can be continued without making waves
. Search committees often make a hiring decision based on institutional knowledge
, rather than future challenges. Inherently, they focus on keeping the status quo, and either promote internal managers or hire external candidates who have not developed nor demonstrated the competencies to lead. CFO’s and COO’s are good managers
, adept at overseeing resources through planning and organizing the activities and operations of the organization - while CEO’s are leaders
that challenge the process, inspire shared vision, enable others to act, model the way and encourage commitment internally and externally.
The profound distinction between management
impacts markedly when selecting a chief executive. In the process of assessing talent for a leadership change, it is important to keep the expectations of management and leadership quite distinct – if the board wants the next chief executive to create new ideas, new approaches and new methodologies.
- Good managers are tactically adept at overseeing resources through planning and organizing the operations of the organization.
- Great leaders are strategically adept, and, inspire shared vision, enable others to act, model the way and encourage commitment.
When the unprepared internal candidate has been selected as successor to the chief executive, the COO-turned-CEO or CFO-turned CEO often departs after a limited and frustrating tenure. The search committee must then engage once again in a long, expensive search process and manage stakeholder and community confidence. To ensure sustainability, chief executives have to be capable of dealing with problems and issues that demand courage, decisiveness and action. The significance of making waves
is a critical factor to explore in the process of leadership change.