The Lead: Berkshire Hathaway’s Succession Planning, Avoiding Talent Management Mistakes

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Berkshire Hathaway Bolsters Succession Planning

Berkshire Hathaway has expanded their board in an effort to better prepare for success after Warren Buffett. Buffett, who is 87, said he’s in “remarkably good health,” and will retain his position on the board. He said the new board members Gregory E. Abel and Ajit Jain are “part of a movement toward succession over time.”

Our View: Long-lasting meaningful legacies are linked with people. If your people can’t carry on your work without you, you haven’t been successful in developing other leaders. Invest in people and develop their capacity to pass on everything they learn from you to others who will do the same. Successful leaders leave a powerful legacy when they put people in a position to do great things without them. Further Reading

Penn Station’s Troubles

Penn Station is the Western Hemisphere’s busiest train station and serves 430,000 travelers every weekday which is more than LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports combined. More than 200,000 travelers also use the subway stops that connect to Penn. There are so many people in Penn Station because there are 1,300 arrivals and departures every weekday, twice the number from four decades ago. With all of this traffic and two tunnels beneath the Hudson River that are both 107 years old, small problems regularly turn into big ones. One 10-minute late train can back up dozens more, keeping tens of thousands of travelers from their destinations.

Our View: Whether disaster strikes from an aging transit system or a bad storm, emergency preparedness is an important responsibility of every leader. According to research by Gartner Group, “43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a major loss of computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years — leaving a mere six percent survival.” Optimize your organization’s emergency response by learning from your peers and risk management professionals at the Emergency Preparedness Leadership Forum. Discover what worked and what didn’t work for other communities, industries, businesses, emergency response professionals in the wake of past disasters. Further Reading

Dentsu Aegis Network’s Strategic Alignment with Merkle

Dentsu Aegis Network announced that &c (launched in 2008 by Dentsu Inc.) will become strategically aligned with Merkle in China to create a fully integrated offering across digital and performance media, data, analytics, CRM, marketing technology, and loyalty programs. This will fast-track Merkle’s global growth in China, and Merkle’s data and technology capabilities will greatly enhance &c’s offerings to its client base. The new brand will be named Merkle &c.

Our View: Strategic alignment combats the disruption from competitors and increasingly complex demands of customers. Enterprise leadership is essential to make strategic decisions that ensure that the most important features, such as business strategy, organizational capabilities, resources, and management systems, of an organization’s fundamental design align seamlessly. Enterprise leadership often falls to senior executives by default, but the responsibility is also often the domain of dedicated design teams. Further Reading

Avoiding Talent Management Mistakes

The Miles Group (TMG) advises CEOs and top executives of Fortune 50 companies on improving talent, and they identified ten talent management mistakes that CEOs can’t afford to make in 2018. These possible mistakes include downplaying cultural risk, focusing on “change management” vs. maintaining organizational fitness, underleveraging their top 100, and not investing enough time in their talent’s “micro” moves (such as the opportunity to lead a key meeting, present to the board, or lead a big initiative). Helping people make continuous “micro” moves will boost their development and help them truly grow into leadership roles.

Our View: Despite the time constraints placed on top managers, it is essential that they help design and implement leadership development programs because of their wealth of knowledge and experience. How leadership development programs are evaluated and the number of company directors involved in participant selection are two variables that strongly impact both individual and organizational outcomes. Further Reading

False Missile Alert in Hawaii

Hawaii is attributing human error and a lack of fail-safe measures to the false missile alert that provoked panic across the state last weekend. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said “it appears the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.”

Our View: When leaders make a mistake, they must own their mistake and be willing to accept the consequences. It is also important that they communicate quickly, stop the loss, figure out next steps, and most importantly, learn from their mistakes. Further Reading

Leave a Comment