Succession Done Stupidly: Negligent Planning at the Highest Level

Headline (edited for brevity): Swiss bank UBS named Axel Weber as its next chairman in a surprise move that robbed rival Deutsche Bank of its top candidate to succeed its chief Josef Ackermann in 2013.

Make no mistake, this is Board negligence on the part of Deutsche Bank, pure and simple.

They should vote out the entire lot.

This sort of crap really ticks me off. They call it “succession planning,” and the key movement in their entire plan is based on someone with which they have zero relationship, and zero knowledge of hiring success. In fact, they were merely hoping that this über-CEO would be available whenever they beck and called.

Apparently, Weber saw it differently.


It’s NOT The Economy, Stupid!

We speak so often about “the economy,” as if it’s this latent beast lurking about that no one can influence or control. And that beast, according to many, unilaterally influences success and failure in myriad ways through all walks of life and industry.


Regardless of how you measure “the economy,” it doesn’t fundamentally “cause” ANYTHING; it merely exists in the background, sort of like the movie “Matrix.” It’s a backdrop for industry, a simple, somewhat undefined engine creating a lot of white noise. And sometimes, distractions.


Manufacturing Matters…Really!

Manufacturing — and I include process industries like chemical, refining, and some distribution — is the backbone of this country. If I’m exaggerating with that statement, it’s only by a small margin.

We can see clearly how Manufacturing really does matter – it’s a real source of strategic advantage for the United States.

In my mind, there are three reasons for this:

1. We build it here. I hate to sound trite, but it does matter when things are “made in the U.S.A.” Now, let’s not get carried away – that can’t be the foundation of manufacturing value in the U.S. (“buy American” is a crock statement, in my opinion; trite and defensive, it’s designed to shame rather than promote), but it certainly does have an impact, particularly today.


Hmmm, You look Like a 4.87 to me…

Again, the issue of performance review ratings rears its head…

I always find this topic fascinating; in reality (my opinion), there are only three performance results:

(a) Doesn’t meet expectations,
(b) Meets expectations, or
(c) Exceeds expectations.

All else (in my opinion) are provided for comfort and conflict mitigation, not accuracy. More rating choices enables poor performance management, in my mind.


More Consultant Crockery…

So, there’s this question on LinkedIn, asking a plethora of “strategy consultants” a valuable, fairly straightforward question:

Should we spend more time and effort on developing strategy or focusing on implementation?

Now, never mind whether you believe we should focus more on strategy or implementation, per se. For the record, I believe that — pound-for-pound — we need more execution (implementation) today. But frankly, that’s a separate conversation, and we can have that later.