Kroger CEO Transition - No Story Here

Returning guest blogger, George Bradt explains how to make turning over the reins a smooth move.

Last week, retail food chain Kroger  announced that Rodney McMullen is succeeding David Dillon as CEO, effective January 1. It’s a non-event. This transition has been in the works for years and looks like everything will happen according to plan. There is no news, no big challenges, no surprises and no story.
How cool is that?
Kroger is making this transition look easy by:

1.    Putting in place long-term succession plans
2.    Moving McMullen through a series of jobs over decades in line with those succession plans
3.    Announcing the transition far enough in advance to allow it to happen smoothly, but not so far in advance to make it awkward

Following are the critical components of succession planning as described in our new book “First-Time Leader” (request an executive summary).

1.    Clarify strategic priorities
2.    Identify future capabilities required by those priorities
3.    Assess existing capabilities
4.    Note gaps between required and existing capabilities
5.    Determine current people to develop/plan to develop them
6.    Determine people to recruit early on and develop/plan to develop them
7.    Determine people to recruit later

Wake up folks. It’s not that hard (if you plan ahead). Trust me on this, you are far better off having your CEO transitions and all your executive transitions be non-events. Keep the story focused on your customers, offerings, employees and the good you’re doing for the world. Commit to making your major transitions be things no one would ever want to write about or write about with the headline “No Story Here.”

Follow this link for more examples from George Bradt’s New Leader’s Playbook or this link to learn about his new First-Time Leader Workshops.