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“99.9% talk about leadership pipeline. Only 1% do it?

India is inherently strong in human capital, but succession planning is not high on India Inc.’s agenda, Cheryl Buxton, Global Managing Director, Client Services, Korn/Ferry International, tells Saumya Bhattacharya. Here are the excerpts:

Saumya Bhattacharya        Print Edition: August 9, 2009

Cheryl Buxton
Cheryl Buxton

India is inherently strong in human capital, but succession planning is not high on India Inc.’s agenda, Cheryl Buxton, Global Managing Director, Client Services, Korn/Ferry International, tells Saumya Bhattacharya. Here are the excerpts:

How prepared is India Inc., in terms of leadership pipeline?
Almost 99.9 per cent talk about leadership pipeline. Only one per cent do it globally. In India, it may be worse because due to growth, organisations do not have time to talk planning.

What are the fallouts?
Well, 90 per cent of managers think they are among the top 10 per cent of the performers. You have to tell a lot of individuals they are not as good as they think they are. The fallout is you may lose talent in the short term, but succession planning is a long-term investment.

What are the challenges for Indian companies in succession planning?
Fast growth, disconnect and lack of understanding of issues from outside the MNC headquarters are big hurdles. Organisations do not know what they are looking for. They mix up high potential with high performers. J

ust because somebody is the best sales manager does not mean they will be great general managers. In high growth markets such as India, you have to promote people who are probably 60 per cent ready. But, if you compare that with the US or Europe, they will never promote someone who isn’t 80 per cent ready.

NUMBERS OF NOTE

Rs 1.75 lakh cr
Amount shelled out by Corporate India in 2007-08 as taxes, including corporate tax and fringe benefit tax. For the purpose of estimating the tax expenditure, data pertaining to 4,10,451 companies with a total income of Rs 4,79,898 crore during 2007-08 was analysed in the Budget for 2009-10

70%
The percentage of Kodak’s revenue that comes from the sale of digital photo gear. Kodachrome (film rolls) accounts for less than 0.01% of Kodak’s $9.4 billion revenue

37
The number of Chinese companies in the 2009 Fortune 500 list, up from just 6 in 1998. They account for 7% of the $25.2 trillion revenue of all the 500 companies put together in 2008. India has 7 companies in the list, 5 of them PSUs

1.7 lakh
The number of vacancies in Indian Railways, according to Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee

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