Develop a Long-Range Succession Plan

The big picture is often the hardest to see for communications executives, who—especially given today’s business environment—are constantly putting out fires that ignite unexpectedly. Mired in the crises of the moment, they fail to see the forest for the trees, but the biggest challenges are those just beyond the horizon. Take, for instance, CEO (or a title of comparable importance) departures. Sometimes these leaders make a planned exit, but more and more often they abandon their posts unexpectedly, be it from illness, scandal or unceremonious ousting. History has proven that, regardless of the reason, these departures can have devastating effects on the organization’s brand, reputation, internal culture and bottom line (just look what happened when a false report of Steve Jobs’ death spread in late 2008— Apple’ s stock price tumbled before spokespeople could correct the error).

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