We’ve all heard that organizations need to have a strong succession plan. And it’s true. Without one, the uncertainty of success when you lose a leader is daunting.
I was reading an article today about the MDA (Muscular Distrophy Association) Labor Day Telethon. For the last forty-five years, Jerry Lewis has been the host. In fact, most people call it the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. It’s a household ritual for many viewers each year and it provides the opportunity to help find a cure and other support for people suffering from muscular distrophy. Jerry is the figure-head and one of the driving forces in the charity’s success. But, now he needs to step down due to his age and health issues.
As a viewer each year, I have watched as Jerry’s health deteriorated in the last several years. I have also noticed that there was no clear heir apparent. This is quite curious from a succession planning standpoint since it is such a highly visible event. Add to this the fact that they have named Nigel Lythgoe, Nancy O’Dell, Allison Sweeney and Jan Carl as the replacement hosts. Wow! Four lesser known, C or D list “celebrities” to fill Jerry’s shoes. I don’t know about you but I have little faith that they can pull it off as effectively as Jerry has. Last year alone, the telethon raised $58,919,838.
I’ll be crossing my fingers they do well this year but let’s face it, that is not a good succession planning strategy. If you’d like to help out “Jerry’s Kids”, please click here to donate.