Succession Planning


If you want to get promoted, develop a successor.

This is a practice that helped make Jack Welch into one of the best managers of all times when he was leading transformation of General Electric into world's most valuable company in 1980's and 1990's. Having no one to fill the void when you leave, will keep on dragging you back to your old position, regardless how strongly you wish to run away. But if you develop a strong successor, he or she will not only fill the void but actively push you away, thus keeping you honest about your ambitions and prevent you from getting too comfortable in your role. It's a dangerous strategy, of course, as you can easily be pushed out instead of up, but for people seeking excellency safe path is never the optimal path.

Having an active strategy of promoting people from within is one of the key ingredients of Yishan's way that made Facebook into global success and is also at the core of engineering management philosophy at Zemanta. Especially when company is not growing quickly enough to match ambitions of its best people, making a vacancy at the top is a great way to reinvigorate the whole company. Slovenian managers (especially if they are also business owners) are notoriously bad at succession planning. If you want to break with this narrow-minded tradition, it's a perfect time now to pick someone who will run the business while you're enjoying your summer holidays this year. If he or she will call you only to inform you that everything is under control, you will know you've just made yourself disposable thus making yourself free to pursue even bigger goals.

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