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In this article Ed Davidson is struggling on how to respond if he fails to be named the CEO of Carston Waite. He is particularly incensed by the current CEO David Paterno who had promised to name him as his successor but now seems unsure. Davison is about to present a speech at Davos and is struggling on whether to use this world forum to avenge the alleged betrayal by David Paterno. The story of Ed Davidson and the succession dilemma at Carston Waite is not any different from what many organizations and top employees are going through today. The story depicts succession battles that many organizations have to go through when they have to replace their Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Companies today have to contend with internal politics when making their leadership transition. Similarly in this story Carston Waite is an organization that is facing leadership transition troubles.
The genesis of their trouble is that the incumbent CEO (David Paterno) had given his word to one of the senior managers (Ed Davidson) that he would succeed him. The company also has a highly political environment for leadership succession which is why the incumbent CEO is hesitant to name his successor. This suggests that Carston Waite does not have a leadership transition mechanism as an organization. Therefore we can indentify the company's main troubles as lack of a clear succession plan, internal politics and designation of the CEO's slot to one of the senior managers. In the article also it is also noted that incumbent CEO had to go through similar internal political strugglers to get to the top. This clearly suggests that the organization does do have a clear culture of leadership transition. Which is explains the reasons for the repetition of the similar internal struggles in their current leadership transition.
To overcome their CEO succession struggle Carston Waite Company or any other organization facing similar challenges should be able to apply theories of leadership in order to indentify the most suitable candidate. From leadership theory we can derive the qualities of a suitable and qualified CEO as an individual who is capable of having a Vision .The CEO should also have a Strategy to enable him or her meet the objective and of an organization. To indentify such an individual it should be considered whether such an individual has demonstrated agility in challenging situations that are complex in nature can be described as ambiguous situations. In the article Ed Davidson is faced with a situation that we can describe as fitting the above qualities. However given his dilemma on whether to avenge his bosses seemingly indecision to name him as the successor it is clear that he does not meet the qualities that are required to be possessed by individuals in leadership positions. He fails to adapt to the seemingly unclear fate of his taking over the company. His over reliance on information provided only by the CFO also denies him a chance to analyze his situation from different angles makes him rigid
In order to avoid the succession struggles that the Carston Waite Company is facing an organization should have a clearly laid strategy for CEO replacement. This is because for one reason or their other the individual at an organizations helm can exit abruptly without giving the organization any time to search for his successor. This is more so in cases where death of the current CEO would require abrupt and unplanned for replacement. In such a case an organization with a clear contingency plan would wither such a storm without interrupting the organization's goals and objectives. To plan for such a contingency it is therefore a requirement that organizations have a succession plan. Such a plan should not be tailored to suit a specific individual thus the plan should have the mechanism to indentify the major key roles that the CEO should play and the leadership qualities that the specific organization requires from their CEO in order to meet their objectives. Therefore the plan should be able to clearly indentify the required competencies and motivation required to implement the organizations goals and objectives.
The succession plan should also have a well defined mechanism for assessing the suitable successor's criteria while at the same time bearing in mind the necessity of the organization continuity. This would ensure that they are well guarded for the future orientation. Though it may be necessary at times to source for a successor outside the realms of an organization, a well planned succession mechanism should ensure that it is capable of Identify and evaluating the talent pool and potential within the organization. This would encompass indentifying two or three possible candidates and ensuring that they are exposed to the organizations board .Thus they should be given responsibility that do not pit them against each other but would provide the opportunity to expose their potential to the board through presentations.
Properly developed succession strategy should also provide a mechanism for indentifying and developing potential candidates. Thus it should provide advancement opportunities to the talented individuals within the organization and a mentoring strategy to ensure that the indentified candidates would be well equipped to take up the leadership mantle should the occasion arise. Since the Carston Waite Company seems to have indentified Ed Davidson as the successor or more appropriately the incumbent CEO made him a promise. The first action that the board should take is to put on hold all plans to promote Davisson .Having designed the company's succession plan the board should advertise for the post in order to get an opportunity to interview diverse candidates within and outside their organization and hire the most suitable candidate. Among the roles that their new CEO should play is implementing the organizations succession plans to ensure that they never have to face succession battles again.