My Pispective on Succession

Succession Planning Collaboration Teams

(A pispective is when you write about something in 314 words)

Succession planning. Another quaint phrase from our recently deceased neo liberal era of mass-production management techniques.

Succession used to be about the right of succeeding someone by inheritance. It was about taking another person's place. But succession is also about having a regular sequence to something. And not just that, it's about something being later in time than something else.

Succession is not a straightforward idea it would seem. To succeed is about following on from something or someone. And again, it is also about prospering or being victorious. To succeed can mean to continue or endure.

So what sort of succession are we planning exactly? If you're a hero-leader, then the likelihood of a happy succession isn't high. The hero-leader concentrates power. And power, once concentrated, becomes valuable and an issue of contention and rivalry. From the enterprise point of view, this is the sort of succession we can do without.

In the creative economy, success comes from distributing power across the team and enterprise. Success comes from combining collaborative and cooperative behaviour (yes, there is a difference) across a group. It's about taking the manager out of the team.

Not because teams don't need management, because they do. All social groups need direction and organization. I don't buy the leader vs manager thing. They're two sides of the same coin.

Taking the manager out of the team is about encouraging the team to take responsibility for putting business objectives into operation. Succession is not an issue in an environment of joint and distributed responsibility.

Succession in the creative economy occurs when a team takes responsibility for bringing new people into the team. This sort of succession is regular and enduring. It looks at who is right to follow and who has earned the right to follow. This goes past a hero-leader picking the person they think most likely to honour their 'legacy'.

Image by Jay Mantri