This FT article tells the story of Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad. He handed power to a first handpicked successor Abdullah Badawi. When this successor did not perform to his satisfaction, her replaced him with the current PM Najib. Again he is unhappy with the performance of his own handpicked successor. The subheading of the Financial Times article reads, “Once one of the world’s most controversial leaders, the 91-year-old is spending his retirement trying to overthrow his successors”.

This is a case in point of when succession planning goes wrong.

What could have gone wrong? It could be many things. No one can say for sure but we can postulate or guess.

There are basic mistakes people make when considering succession planning. Let’s discuss a few.

But first let’s define succession planning. What is it?

Succession planning is a process for:

  2. DEVELOPING new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die.

The challenge is many leaders especially in the political sphere focus on IDENTIFYING a replacement but do not put much focus on DEVELOPING those identified. This is what is known as Leadership Resource Development.

Many times, leaders do not take time to cultivate or develop a particular value system [honesty, integrity, transparency, humility] into their chosen successor. It takes TIME and a lot of WORK to cultivate, develop or program values into successors or mentees.

People WILL NOT follow you, your example and manifest your value system just because you honor them with positions and possessions. For this to transpire, it takes deliberate discipleship, training, capacity building a.k.a cultivation. The mind is a farm and needs cultivation.

While doing this, guard against pretense. When persons want positions bad enough, they will pretend. Be sagacious in your evaluation of a mentees level of absorption and development.

NB: This is not to say I agree with any of the characters in linked article. I am just using it as a teaching aid. Have a blessed day.