Succession

Erikjan Lantink
3 min readDec 1, 2023

Sometimes, a TV show can help us see our business clearly. If only we were receptive to the cues we got.

I started watching the TV series Succession a while ago.

Then, I gave it up for a few months. And I continued last week when I was awake at night because of jet lag.

The series is about a wealthy billionaire with four kids aiming to succeed their father.

The series starts when the elderly billionaire suffers from a stroke, and nobody is prepared to succeed him immediately.

Nothing has been agreed.

And, of course, the infighting begins. All the children believe they’re capable and entitled to succeed their father as CEO of this billionaire media company, Waystar Royco.

One of the sons believes he can run for president of the United States, so why not lead Waystar Royco?

The other son, the brightest of the bunch, has mental illness and drug addiction. He’s intellectually capable but needs his ego cherished all the time.

The third son is a dufus. He’s not the brightest and has no genuine interest in business, but this is easy money, so why not?

The last one, the only daughter, is a politician. No factual background in business, but politically shrewd and female.

Who should it become?

That’s the question for four seasons! I’m in season three now, and until this season, it’s still unclear and entertaining.

The father survives the brain stroke, witnesses his family fighting over his nearly occupied grave, and doesn’t have a clue who to pick.

Emotions more often lead him than factual criteria.

Sounds familiar?

I bet it does.

Many companies operate the same way.

Few companies do succession planning right.

You need a CEO who believes in succession planning (not just succession).

You need a process that’s clear to everyone and that gets planned, discussed, and delivered consistently.

--

--

Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)