F R O M T H E F O U N D E R
Move over, Grover
You need to be identifying your successor and preparing the road for them so they can be successful.
L et’s face it. If you work as a manager in an AEC organization of any size or scale, and if you don’t want to be doing the same job for the rest of your life, you need to be identifying your successor and preparing the road for them so they can be successful. If you don’t do this, you’re stuck. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being stuck!
You may be saying to yourself, “Yeah, but I don’t have a successor. No one could do my job as well as I can.” It’s normal to think that way (I’ve done it myself at various times), but that doesn’t make it right. I think what you are really saying is, “No one will do my job the same way I do,” and that’s OK. My personal experience is they may eventually do a better job than you do in your role but it’s up to you to make that happen. Finding the right successor and getting them up to speed may not be as simple as saying you want to do it. My experience is that internal candidates are almost always preferred, IF a suitable candidate is already in the firm. Newcomers are more likely to adopt one of two “modes” for lack of a better word. They will either a) not do anything for fear of being rejected by the team. That isn’t good. Or b) they will start changing things too quickly because
they don’t understand the culture and get shot in the back by their own team. That isn’t good, either. Yet in spite of these two potential negative outcomes, there are times it is necessary to find someone outside with certain skills and attributes and bring them on board. The good news about an outside successor versus an internal one is that they may have new ideas that they can bring to the organization. There are many firms in this business that are so inbred because they have very little turnover. That isn’t good. Internal candidates, on the other hand, are bound to know the rest of the team and better understand the culture and systems in place. That may help them get up to speed in your role faster and lead to a greater chance of their being accepted by the team. My personal preference
See MARK ZWEIG, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 2, 2021, ISSUE 1402
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