When a CEO begins to plan for retirement, typically the focus is on the organization they have led. Is the organization prepared? Who will be ready to move into new roles? Are the finances and systems in good working order? How is the profit margin?
As a leader prepares to hand off to a successor, they want their house to be in order, and the house they are thinking about is the organization.
With all the focus on external needs, it often leads to a key mistake seen in many successions: The leader misses their off-ramp, the opportunity to transition the company to new leadership and leave on their own terms. They miss leaving at the right moment, robbing themselves of what would have been a happy ending. According to one recent analysis by Exechange, 52% of CEOs from the Russell 3000 Index were asked to leave their roles, and that is just in the past two years. These leaders missed their off-ramp.
How does this happen?