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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Succession: Are You Ready?

This is the first in a series of 5 posts that will be based on the book review of Succession: Are You Ready? by Marshall Goldsmith, the country’s most prominent coach.

This brief but powerful book is aimed directly at the many CEO's (baby boomers to be sure) who will be retiring in the next few years. Goldsmith, who has worked widely with exiting CEO's, has written this as if he were writing a series of memos to the exiting CEO. Any CEO even remotely thinking of retiring in the next 5 years should read this book.

Introduction to this series: This is one of those small, easy-to-read books that packs a punch harder than most textbooks you’ll read in an MBA program. The reason: It’s written by a guy who has coached CEO's for 30 years. Also, it’s written as part of the Harvard “Memo to the CEO” series focused on executives on the run who could read this book on a plane trip from Washington to Boston. The book is segmented into 4 distinct sections:

  1. Preparing yourself: We’re all going to leave our jobs sometime, better to do it strategically.
  2. Choosing a successor: Picking your successor is as much a part of your legacy as anything else you may accomplish.
  3. Coaching your successor: If you want your successor to succeed, learning how to coach them into success is not only logical, but also necessary.
  4. Passing the baton: Giving up the reins is the final act of a great CEO’s story. It’s never as easy as you think, but when done well it makes all the difference.

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