The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Horse Race Approach to Succession

When horse racing was first established it was primarily as a means to test speed and stamina. Using four-hitched chariots and mounted bareback races, it was popular throughout ancient Europe, Asia, and Africa. It eventually spread to America, where the sport became increasingly popular. While the sport has retained many of its traditions, technology has significantly impacted the way the game is played. Advances in racing technology have led to a greater emphasis on race safety and improved health and wellness for horses.

In the modern world of racehorses, there is no shortage of controversy and scrutiny over animal welfare. It is no secret that horses in racing are subjected to exorbitant physical stress, and that they are often euthanized or slaughtered after breaking down due to the intense demands of their careers. The 2008 deaths of Eight Belles and Medina Spirit caused a public reckoning with the industry, and the ongoing death toll remains a matter for serious consideration.

Those who advocate for the horse race approach to succession say that it is a powerful method of choosing a leader that benefits a company in more ways than one might expect. It can help to foster a culture of leadership development, and it ensures that there are several strong internal candidates who are able to vie for the position.

It can also serve as a way to motivate top performers, allowing them to see the path to senior roles that will ultimately lead to the CEO role. This can be particularly important for organizations that are in the midst of a turnaround. In these situations, it is critical that the board has a strong roster of candidates ready to step into the breach if needed.

The horse race method of selecting a CEO can also be effective at helping the board choose a candidate who can successfully manage conflicting priorities and bring new ideas and perspective to the role. When done well, it can also create a sense of competition that promotes innovation and drives a greater level of accountability in the organization.

However, there are a number of ways that a horse race can go wrong, and it is crucial to consider the implications of this method before opting for it. In order to avoid these pitfalls, it is essential to take the time to assess each potential candidate and to select the one who is best suited for the job. Moreover, it is crucial that the process is transparent and that all parties are aware of the expectations in terms of qualifications and experience. This will prevent misunderstandings that could potentially result in a poor decision. Finally, it is imperative that the horse race be held within a controlled environment to limit the chances of disruption. If the horse race is not conducted properly, it can have a negative impact on the organization and its people. It may also cause the board to lose strong leaders deeper in the organization who have aligned themselves with an unsuccessful candidate.