4 The Board's Role

It is clear by now that we disagree that a senior-level transition can be handled as a routine event requiring no special management. Such a belief is a shortcoming that leads to the errors in thinking and execution that are described in the previous two chapters. When it happens with directors, it can be particularly problematic because of the key role they play in the transition. This chapter examines the role of the board further to see how both changed thinking and execution can lead to better outcomes.

To start, consider the handoff recently directed by the board of a large technology corporation, one that we believe will be problematic. The board had spent months on its succession duties. Directors had assessed many candidates ...

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