Should Boards Use a Horse Race to Select a Succession Leader?

horse race

Horse racing is one of the oldest forms of competition. The sport has spread around the world and can be found in numerous cultures. Whether it’s in the United States, Europe or North Africa, the sport has a rich history. While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact day, the first recorded horse race in the West was in the Greek Olympic Games in 700 to 40 B.C.

In recent years, technological advances have had a major impact on the sport. For example, MRI scanners, thermal imaging cameras and 3D printing have helped detect minor health conditions in horses before they cause a significant deterioration. Also, the use of GPS trackers gave researchers real-time speed and position data. This data allows them to determine optimal racing strategies.

A classic succession “horse race” puts two or three senior executives against each other. It’s a way for companies to select a new leader and to establish a culture for succession development. However, some directors are uncomfortable with the idea of using a horse race to choose a future CEO. They fear that the protracted succession process will detract from business momentum. To avoid this, boards should consider a variety of factors.

Companies that are successful in succession management cultivate a culture whereby frontrunners are recognized early and groomed for critical roles. Overt competition for top jobs helps employees stay motivated. Boards that foster a competitive spirit for the top job also show their commitment to leadership development. Developing leaders is an ongoing process that helps ensure that the company’s best talent is ready to move into more challenging roles.

When selecting a successor, boards should be careful to consider the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Succession cultures often require the board to assess whether the new leader’s skill sets are aligned with the company’s vision for the future. Similarly, a company’s organizational structure and culture may also affect the board’s decision.

In addition to helping organizations choose their next leader, a horse race can also offer other benefits. For instance, it can provide a measure of accountability for the performance of the company. Moreover, it can give employees a sense of responsibility for the company’s performance.

Another benefit of a horse race is that it is a great motivator for both the staff and the customers. Many companies have utilized the race to pick their next chief executive officer. During the race, many directors have expressed fears that the protracted succession process will hurt business momentum. However, many of these concerns can be alleviated by adopting strategies to minimize disruptions.

If a company decides to pick a winner, it might have to lay off other senior executives in order to make room for the new person. Additionally, if the selected leader doesn’t perform well, the board may have to restructure the company’s leadership team. By establishing a clear path for succession, a company can help its next CEO develop into a stellar leader.