Champion Leadership Tip #41 – A Strong Bench Is Characteristic of Champion Teams and Vital for Business, Too!

In athletics its called bench strength. It’s managed via something called the depth chart. You’ve heard the terminology, first team, second team, third team, etc.

The “first team” are the players in the starting lineup, the second team are the “understudies” who give the first team a rest on certain strategic days during the season, or they come in to games at certain strategic times like for defense when a more conservative approach is desired. And, the third team is there to protect against serious injury and unexpected situations that may present themselves, (e.g., a player getting suspended for substance or steroid abuse or getting in trouble with the law, etc. where the second team player has to step up to the first team to fill that void.)

Well, the surprising resignation of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd last week has caught the high-tech bohemoth with its depth chart a little light.

According to a recent Wall St. Journal article there is no clear succession plan in place and no clear successor to the CEO role at H-P. This is surprising for such a large, multi-national firm.

It’s not a surprise to me in dealing with the small-to-medium sized firm’s I work with. But, it is no less important, and maybe even more important, for the smaller companies and not-for-profit agencies with whom I work to have a succession plan in place.


I call it the “Mack Truck” scenario. What happens to your organization should the owner/CEO walk down the street for lunch and get hit by a Mack Truck crossing the street?

Hmmm, something to think about! Yet, too many organizations fail to plan effectively for this possibility.

That’s why I was excited to get a call from a former client this week who asked me to help train their middle-level managers on leadership and high-performance management skills last winter asking me to take their younger executives, who are the next level on their depth chart, through the same training. This is a firm obviously looking to the future and wants to be ready for it.

I also have another client, a not-for-profit organization, that to this point has not invested time, energy and resources on its Mack Truck scenario. But, I’ve been moving them in that direction since I started working with them because I believe the health and vitality of its current executive director is vital to the long-term viability and sustainability (not just the success) of the agency. And, at this stage the agency lacks the depth chart to have a viable succession plan.

What about you? Too many company’s and not-for-profit organizations procrastinate on this ‘fundamental’ of long-term success (it’s no coincidence that the word ‘success’ is the core of the word ‘succession’ as in ‘succession planning.’)

That’s why I have included ‘succession planning’ and ‘depth chart’ creation as a strategy within my program on “The 3 Leadership Strategies Champion Organizations Master That Too Many Leaders Take for Granted.”

If you haven’t downloaded that free white paper report and tele-seminar recording you should do that now at this link.

You also may want to experience my TeleSeminar on September 9th, “The 3 Leadership Strategies Champion Organizations Master That Too Many Leaders Take for Granted” in which I discuss the strategies outlined in that report.

Grab your seat today before the call fills up. I’ve been amazed at the number of registrations already and I haven’t promoted much beyond last week’s mention in my ezine that goes out to my list of 4,000 subscribers.

’til next time, make it a great week!