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Don’t fail to plan

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Law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison rose as a tough New Economy powerhouse, then fell into chaotic demise. Leaders from other law firms were mystified: How could a firm so strong have failed so massively?

The collapse wasn’t caused by a single, overarching mistake. One of the problems: no leadership succession plan. When the firm suddenly lost its chairman, it slipped into tumult and couldn’t recover.

Part of being a leader is planning for when you’ll hand over the reins. Identify up-and-coming leaders and begin carefully grooming them for your seat. Give them graceful guidance, or find someone who can help provide it. The result is a butter-smooth transition that gives the organization—and the new leader— confidence.

—Adapted from “Your Future is at Stake,” Peter D. Zeughauser, The American Lawyer.

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