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Succession: Are You Ready? (Memo to the CEO)

by Marshall Goldsmith

succession book cover

Amazon link: Succession: Are You Ready? (Memo to the CEO)

A leader's greatest challenge can be knowing when it's time to step aside. A great deal has been written for corporate boards on the issue of succession planning. But most executives have few resources to help guide them through the process. How do you start preparing yourself—and your successor—for your inevitable leadership transition?

In this concise book, leading executive coach and bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith offers candid advice on succession from the outgoing executive's perspective. From choosing and grooming a successor while sidestepping political minefields, to finally handing over responsibility, Goldsmith walks you through each step in the succession process.

Done right, your successor can enter to applause while you gracefully bow out and start the next chapter of your life.

  • Title page
  • Memo to the CEO series of books
  • Succession: Are You Ready?
  • Contents
  • Note to the Reader
    • What is this book designed to do?
  • Preface: Memo to the CEO
  • Part I: Preparing Yourself
    • 1 Slowing Down
      • Passing the Baton of Leadership
      • "Stopping" May Not Be an Option
      • Making Peace with Slowing Down
    • 2 Letting Go and Moving On
      • Letting Go Is Hard to Do
        • Wealth
        • Perquisites
        • Status
        • Power
        • Relationships
        • Happiness
        • Meaning
        • Contribution
      • Moving On-Creating a Great "Rest of Your Life"
      • Finding Another Team--or Teams
  • Part II: Choosing Your Successor
    • 3 Choosing Who to Develop as Your Successor
      • The Case for Internal Successors
        • The Costs of External CEO Failure
        • The Wrong Message About Leadership Development
        • The Positive Impact of Internal Succession
      • How, the Business Environment Can Eliminate an Internal Successor
    • 4 Evaluating Internal Coaching Candidates
      • Being a CEO Coach
      • Do You Really Want Him to Be the Next CEO?
      • Will She Be Given a Fair Chance by Her Key Stakeholders?
      • Is He Willing to Make an Authentic Effort to Change?
  • Part III: Coaching Your Successor
    • 5 Beginning the Coaching Process
      • Deciding on an Executive Coach
      • Every Meeting for the Rest of My Career?
      • Involving Key Stakeholders in Determining Strengths and Challenges
      • Which Key Stakeholders Should Be Involved?
    • 6 Becoming a CEO Coach-Facilitator
      • Reviewing Previous Feedback
      • Gathering Ideas for Success in the CEO Position
      • When Coaching Your Successor, Stop and Look at Yourself!
        • Why Doesn't She Act Like Me?
        • Why Doesn't She Think Like Me?
        • Why Doesn't He Love My Friends?
      • Setting Developmental Goals
      • Involving Key Stakeholders in the Coaching Process
      • Being a Coach-Facilitator, Not a "Coach-Expert"
      • Follow-up Is Everything
  • Part IV: Passing the Baton
    • 7 Making a Great Exit
      • Letting Your Successor Know He Is Your Successor
      • Declaring Victory
      • Making a Great Exit!
  • About the Author


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




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working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

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