“The company must be set up so it can run without me.”—Sir Richard
As HR Magazine goes on to say “few companies have so publicly revolved around one man; Virgin is Branson and Branson is Virgin.” With that in mind, it stands to reason that any business owner or leader could learn something about succession planning from a man who has focused much attention on himself as the centerpiece of his companies branding and management. I often ask our clients can they leave the business today ( without a mobile phone / PDA / Blackberry ) and travel thru sub Saharan Africa for three weeks without worrying about what is going on in their business at home – when they get back is the company still growing, are clients still being serviced and are bills being paid. The article makes it clear that Branson sees the challenge of planning for the future as a question of management succession For Branson, it’s about getting out of the way and trying not to let his reputation stifle the people he hires:. “I have to be willing to step back now.” Interestingly and consistent with our view Branson is not planning to retire anytime soon – he has a succession timeframe of at least 5 – 7 years.