Legacy in Business and Sport

It is always interesting to see what happens to a successful business once there is a change of ‘successful’ leader, just as it is when a successful football team changes a winning manager.

To what extent is previous success re-achievable; to what degree has the successful predecessor created a self-perpetuating vehicle that can remain victorious in the face of competition?

We have seen how this can be as much of a problem for a Tesco as it can for a Manchester United. Leahy and Ferguson, respectively, were hailed as great leaders. Yes, they achieved success, but had they, in fact, created entities that, without them, could continue to be as successful?

We now know, of course, that they did not. They did well themselves, yes, but what they had done was not automatically bequeathed to their successors.

In effect, those who succeed the successful do not necessarily have a legacy to stand on!!

So, the real challenge for a leader is to structure and build for continuity – alas, it seems in business, as in sport, that that is difficult to do and the individual leader perhaps is greater than the team, unless the follow-on appointment is itself handled brilliantly. Succession planning is as important as success, in very case.

Published on Jun 17, 2014 by Neil Thomas