The end of the week is almost here. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Ash, where I interview WatchMojo founder & CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan and ask him questions about various topics, ranging from covering what is going on in the news, to giving advice to students & entrepreneurs.
Today, I wanted to talk about succession planning. We can never see into the future, and there could be a time where an executive has to step down or take leave for a period of time, and you need to make sure that your employees are on the same page as the executives, and have someone who can fill into that role if need be. Here are Ash’s thoughts on succession planning.
You are a pretty transparent person about business and strategic planning. I’m curious if there is one thing you are working on now that nobody would know about and everyone would be surprised to find out about?
Interesting question! So you expect me to just reveal everything and spill the beings here (laughs). Sure, why not. The answer to that is succession planning. Human beings think we’re invincible and indestructible, especially when we are young. When you work as an executive at 99% of companies, they think about succession planning. Entrepreneurs may say their business isn’t their baby, but to some extent, it is.
Over time, things happen where you come to grips with your mortality and just realize there’s a need to plan for all contingencies. The same thing happens with young people who suddenly realize they need to save money. In this racket, we call it “bus insurance” but eventually, all founders change their roles. I manage a team of a handful of execs, so more and more, I realize I need to be super focused and clear-minded to make 2-3 decisions per day and set a framework for my execs to view decision-making in a similar manner where we are consistent, clear, etc.
So this isn’t something that I’ve just started to think about, it’s something I have always thought of ever since we were super indebted, because I worried about leaving an indebted company to others! These days, I have to look at my executive team and ensure that they develop complementary skills, I need to assess who internally is best positioned to one day replace me… even if I am involved with the company in a myriad of ways in 5, 10 or 20 years… my role will change…
And, if I don’t spot that person, then I need to develop a process and system to look at external candidates. It’s ironic because when I was graduating from business school in 1999, the Manager of the Century, GE’s Jack Welch, was retiring… and he had narrowed three of his executives: Jeff Immelt became CEO, Bob Nardelli left to run Home Depot, while Jim McNerney bolted for Boeing. I’ll be covering succession planning more in the weeks to come.
Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash