Who's that Girl?


A Good Succession Plan Is More Than Crossing Your Fingers

Originally posted: August 6, 2011 on TrishMcFarlane.com

We’ve all heard  that organizations need to have a strong succession plan.  And it’s true.  Without one, the uncertainty of success when you lose a leader is daunting.

I was reading an article today about the MDA (Muscular Distrophy Association) Labor Day Telethon.  For the last forty-five years, Jerry Lewis has been the host.  In fact, most people call it the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.  It’s a household ritual for many viewers each year and it provides the opportunity to help find a cure and other support for people suffering from muscular distrophy.  Jerry is the figure-head and one of the driving forces in the charity’s success.  But, now he needs to step down due to his age and health issues.

As a viewer each year,  I have watched as Jerry’s health deteriorated in the last several years.  I have also noticed that there was no clear heir apparent.  This is quite curious from a succession planning standpoint since it is such a highly visible event.  Add to this the fact that they have named Nigel Lythgoe, Nancy O’Dell, Allison Sweeney and Jan Carl as the replacement hosts.  Wow! Four lesser known, C or D list “celebrities” to fill Jerry’s shoes.  I don’t know about you but I have little faith that they can pull it off as effectively as Jerry has. Last year alone, the telethon raised $58,919,838.

I’ll be crossing my fingers they do well this year but let’s face it, that is not a good succession planning strategy.  If you’d like to help out “Jerry’s Kids”, please click here to donate.

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