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Building a Legacy Case Study

Building a Legacy

Mutuality, an innovative principle in effective leadership, emphasizes the importance of reciprocal relationships, two-way empathy, and shared goals. In this case study, mutuality is evident in Deborah's approach to addressing the leadership transition. 

Instead of seeking an external candidate, Deborah highlighted the potential of existing team members, fostering a sense of partnership and trust.. By involving stakeholders in the talent identification process, Deborah and Dr. Stacy Feiner promoted a collaborative environment where each team member had a voice in defining the ideal candidate for leadership roles. This collective effort not only reinforced mutual respect and understanding but also ensured that the succession planning process was inclusive, transparent, and aligned with the organization's core values.

Background: Deborah is the managing director of a private investment office serving multiple generations of a family. The office faces complex succession issues due to its family-oriented nature and constant transitions.

Problem Identification: Six years ago, the chairman identified the need for a change with the senior leadership team. Insights from management revealed common issues and themes, prompting the chairman to consider a leadership change.

Proposed Solution: Deborah, then head of tax, advised against hiring externally, emphasizing the internal talent's potential. Her experience with other organizations highlighted the challenges of integrating an external executive candidate effectively.

Leadership Decision: Appreciative of Deborah's insights, the chairman involved her in discussions along with performance coach Dr. Stacy Feiner. Dr. Stacy recognized Deborah's suitability for the leadership role, resulting in the chairman suggesting Deborah for the COO position. Deborah readily partnered with two experienced investment experts, immediately infusing new energy within the management team.

Planning Approach: After assuming the role of COO, Deborah quickly recognized the need for skill development within the team to better serve the succession plan. Despite having a team of smart and talented professionals, there was a noticeable gap in leadership and managerial skills. To address this, Dr. Stacy encouraged Deborah to spearhead this initiative and together they facilitated a talent inventory exercise to support succession planning. This exercise involved stakeholders in defining the ideal candidate's attributes for key roles, fostering critical thinking about core competencies in functional skills, cultural fit, and future potential.

Outcome: The talent inventory exercise provided a visual graph plotting ready-now talent, talent with potential to grow, and talent in the right roles with room to sharpen. This comprehensive approach ensured that the investment office was well-prepared for future leadership transitions, contributing to its ongoing success, stability, and growth.


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