Jen BudneyJen Budney

Alexa and Walter – I think that balance will be different from organization to organization, and yes, I completely agree with Louis-H that succession planning is a major board responsibility, often but not always shared with the CEO. Getting to know members of senior management below the CEO can be a way of identifying talent and develop candidates for the CEO position. And yes, if a CEO is absolutely resistant to this, there is clearly a problem of lack of trust – however, this is not necessarily the CEO’s fault, and — as in any relationship — blame can usually be shared. So until a strong relationship of trust is built between the Board (and particularly the Chair) and the CEO, attempts by the Board to work with senior management below the CEO will be fraught. Find out how to build trust with the CEO first. And if *this is impossible, then it must be dealt with first. And while Boards are increasingly taking a larger role in appointment of the CEO, too much involvement with senior managers in the grooming and vetting process can sometimes lead to dysfunctional “horse races” that pit potential candidates against each other. Senior managers might become overly preoccupied with the impression they are giving, or taking sides and attributing business decisions to political motives, etc. So again, balance is key – and not easy.


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