The succession planning blind spot
Last year, Stanford University released a report detailing the attitudes of corporate executives and directors towards succession planning and talent development.
One of the more striking findings highlighted a blind spot that persists at board room level: 50% of the study’s interviewees believed their board had an effective succession plan in place for senior positions, but only 25% felt that their business had an adequate pool of successors for key C-suite roles.
In the world of football, this might translate as follows:
50% of directors felt that their club is well-structured and has a succession plan in place, and would be fine in the event of key players being injured or sold… But only 25% felt that the club had an adequate pool of young players to replace their core players.
Clearly, it’s dangerous to hold such beliefs: an effective succession plan cannot exist without a capable group of successors. Research from the corporate world suggests that it is not uncommon to hold these conflicting opinions, and perhaps this translated version rings true in football too. We often talk about long-term plans, but fail to develop the tools to execute it. The vision is easier to formulate than the process.
Ultimately, and somewhat perversely, the corporate executives who knew they have neither an effective succession plan nor an adequate pool of successors are better placed to act than those who failed to recognise that their plans were hollow. Is football any different?