Marshall Goldsmith, the well-known business author, has an insightful piece in Business Week entitled, Advice for Outgoing CEOs, How can you avoid being a lame duck? You can’t, so make the most of it. The article focuses on one of the most important keys to executive transitions that have so often tripped up outgoing CEOs and their respective companies. According to Goldsmith,
Leaders who are getting ready to slow down and pass the baton often have a common fear: that they will become lame ducks if they announce their successors in advance. No one wants that to happen.
Almost every leader goes through this inner dialogue as part of the challenge of “slowing down.” This fear, which often results in postponing the announcement about succession until the last minute, inhibits what could have been a much smoother transition.
Face it: When you are nearing the time to exit, you will become a lame duck! That is O.K. Eyes will immediately turn to your successor as his or her vision for the company will mean more than yours…
Goldsmith’s advice is so on point. If more top executives would just follow his simple advice more firms would find themselves able to handle CEO transitions far more effectively. Key changes in corporate leadership would in most circumstances be far more effective and less problematic for companies and the executives taking charge.