The need for succession planning

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In 1996, a plane crash in Croatia killed 35 passengers, including government officials, air force pilots, and top executives from various organizations. The most notable death was that of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. Ron Brown, in his first term of service under President Bill Clinton, had been assembled with various influential U.S. executives for an official trade mission. On their route back, the plane crashed into a mountainside, leaving no survivors.


Though shocked, the government was able to fill Ron Brown’s position rather quickly due to a strong structure of precautions and emergency plans. However, in the aftermath that followed this tragic event, it was evident that many of the organizations affected by this crash were not as prepared for disaster as the U.S. government.


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Many of the organizations did not have an effective succession plan, or a potential successor identified. This disaster caught most of the organizations off-guard, leaving them scrambling to fill the position before the vacancy affected their competitive advantage. This well-publicized plane crash also prompted many organizations around the United States to wonder what their company would do in the wake of such a disaster. As such, organizations began to seek out ways to prepare for other unforeseen circumstances such as death, lawsuits, resignations, and disabilities. In addition, many organizations implemented safeguards that specifically forbid top executives from riding on the same plane together. 


In this Discussion, further explore the negative effects the Ron Brown plane crash had on the organizations involved. First, select an organization from Exhibit 3-4 of the course text Effective Succession Planning. Then conduct online research to gather information about the ways in which your chosen organization handled the processes of choosing a successor. Finally, synthesize this information to analyze how succession plans can mitigate the negative consequences of unforeseen disasters.


Please write a cohesive and scholarly response based on your readings and research this week that addresses the following:


Analyze how succession plans can mitigate the negative consequences of unforeseen disasters. 

Briefly identify the organization you have selected, and provide a brief biographical overview of the person who died in the crash. For example, what was his or her name, what position did he or she hold, for how long, what previous experiences did he or she have before fulfilling this position?

Identify whether or not the organization you selected had a formalized succession plan at the time of the accident. 

If one was in place, in which of the five generations of the succession planning life cycle was your example company during the time that this emergency occurred? 

If one was not in place, what steps, if any, did the organization take after the disaster to initiate a succession plan?

Describe how the organization you selected identified its successor in the wake of the disaster. 

How long did it take for a successor to assume the position?

How did the organization handle this unforeseen loss both emotionally and procedurally?

Describe two positive and/or negative outcomes that resulted from the organization’s actions.

Note: There may or may not be specific, citable answers to the questions above. You will have to answer these questions using the information from your own research, as well as your work experiences, course readings, and logical reasoning. Include references of your research where appropriate.


Respond by Day 5 to two or more of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:


Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and any additional sources.

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