There is no more important decision a board can make than naming a CEO. Yet most companies pay scant attention to the issue of succession other than a few whispered names in the hallways. The result? The hiring of an outsider who quickly gets mired in legacy and obstinacy, or an insider who knows the business but can't lead.
That's why the best CEO should be both an insider and an outsider, says Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Bower in his new book, The CEO Within: Why Inside Outsiders Are the Key to Succession Planning.
"The best leaders are people from inside the company who somehow have maintained enough detachment from the local traditions, ideologies, and shibboleths that they have retained the objectivity of an outsider," Bower writes.