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The Bickley Blog: Trick or Treat

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This Thursday evening, many of us will answer the door to ghoulish-looking groups seeking favours, and cautioning woe if we don’t oblige.

No, not members of our “Zombie Parliament” (BoJo’s phrase, not mine) canvassing support for a pre-Christmas General Election.

I am of course talking about our children in fiendish fancy dress, going door-to-door Trick or Treating, as this Thursday is Halloween.

Halloween is traditionally when we remember the dead and departed, a list that this year will include, still in rigor mortis, the Prime Minister’s ‘do or die’ pledge to leave the EU.

What a coincidence, some might say, that October 31 is also the anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death…

Indeed, this Thursday, it will now not be the UK’s withdrawal, but another grand departure, that will have potentially significant implications for the institutions of the EU:

Super Mario.

Mario Draghi will hold his final policy meeting and press conference as president of the European Central Bank on 31st .

His presidency has divided opinion – the supporters highlighting how he saved the eurozone and delivered growth; his detractors pointing out that he failed in his only official responsibility – of monetary policy – to keep inflation below but close to 2%.

Draghi’s successor Christine Lagarde will be sworn in today, and immediately walks into a challenging environment:

Consumer confidence is weak, global trade tensions continue and the EU’s biggest member economy, Germany, has almost certainly fallen into recession.

Yet no doubt, the handover from Draghi to Lagarde will have been well coordinated and meticulously planned.

But succession planning doesn’t just apply to the top level jobs.

Throughout any organisation, there will be business critical roles that cannot be left unoccupied for long without consequences.  

Having a succession plan strategy in place can help reduce the threat of talent attrition.

And succession planning is a big hit with Millennials and Gen-Z:

Over 90% of workers aged 18-34 said that working at a company with a clear succession plan would improve their level of engagement, in a survey by Software Advice, (Carol Foote for Sage, 2018).


Investors In People have nine tips for successful succession planning:

  1. Start early
  2. Be honest
  3. Harness your senior workers’ expertise
  4. Develop your deputies
  5. Find an effective way for generations to learn from each other
  6. Explore all options
  7. Learn to let go
  8. Give it the time it deserves
  9. Be flexible

(a tenth if you are a family business: accepting that keeping it in the family might not be easy).

As its Halloween, and without trivialising it – think of it as gallows humour - we’d love to know what ‘spooks’ you the most about your business: is it succession planning?

Or is it something more macro? Ghastly global trade wars? Spine chilling supply shortages? Sinister cyber attacks? Or Bru ha ha ha Brexit..