- Hardcover: 130 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (February 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1422118231
- ISBN-13: 978-1422118238
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Succession: Are You Ready? Hardcover – February 10, 2009
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"A 'handbook' in every sense, the latest offering from leadership authority Marshall Goldsmith is a compact field guide to letting go, gearing up, and passing the baton" --T+D Magazine
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It was backstage at a conference, and he was using one of our monitor PCs to check out his PowerPoint presentation. "Excuse me, Joe," I said, "would you mind moving?"
And in that moment, in that instance that is recounted in so many business books, he did.
Obviously he thought that was sage advice well taken, because I didn't lose my job. I'm sure when the time comes for Joe to step down, he'll also take the advice in this short book, which could have been a standard business book if it had a lot of padding. Luckily Marshall Goldsmith writes to the point, and this book is full of useful ideas - almost like a slightly expanded shopping list of what to take care of when you, as CEO, retire.
Goldsmith shows that there are many mistakes that can and have been made when a CEO steps down. He divides his advice into four sections - Preparing yourself, Choosing your successor, Coaching your successor, and Passing the baton. Each section has to-the-point advice - like, try not to bring in an outsider as CEO, because suitable outsiders are usually thin on the ground, often ask for exorbitant salaries, and expect you to also hire some of their current team. Appointing an outsider also leaves a sour taste in the mouths of current employees who thought that they had a chance for the job. Joe was an exception, in that the company had grown past the limits of what the founders were capable of managing, and he already had a record as a CEO who came into a company and turned it around for the better. I'm glad he didn't take my request to move in its wider sense.
As others have said, this book is aimed at that the emotional side of succession, but that is exactly where the CEO can slip up by trying to justify an emotional decision as a logical decision. It covers such things as thinking that you'll be CEO forever, not giving your successor the support needed, and holding on till the last minute to hand over power. There's even a discussion on how to find meaningful activity once you've let go of the reins.
Goldsmith has had years of experience dealing with CEO successions. Reading this book is like having a one-hour consultation with him. I rather think that to see the man in person you'd pay quite a lot more than the cost of this book. It should give you plenty to mull over, and maybe if you lend it to your board you might find that they'll hire a consultant to get everyone through this complex time.
So - what's not to recommend? Nothing. A master of the game putting his point in a succinct manner - if you're a CEO then buy this book.
I thought that Goldsmith did a wonderful job in breaking down how to best serve the company that someone was working for along with helping one to plan and move onward with their life. As any CEO may transition out of the job they had so loved, they are unlikely to sit back and smell the roses when they are done being a leader for a particular organization. Topics that are included deal with how someone's ego may take a hit when they are no longer the leader of a large organization, how to let go and move on, how to groom someone else to be a success.
Why should you read this book? I think people that are leading large organization of any time may benefit from reading this book as they may be in a transition. You may want to go back to work for that same organization, this book will give one many ideas on how to best manage this transition. This book gives advice on a person's family life, as well as life in the boardroom. Clear explanations, clear and well thought out analogies, make this book a thought provoking read that flows easily.