Ratan Tata’s Succession Planning: Looking beyond family


In the previous couple of days, there was a hype about Ratan Tata looking for succession for the reason that succession candidates were sought beyond the Tata family.

It’s an encouraging change in the dynastic fashion of business empires in the Asian, and more so in South Asian countries. However, a system of checks should be brought about in place with such a radical change to be brought about. Why? Because the entire set of systems, procedures, policies and most importantly, human resources, are attuned to the family business systems.

With family businesses, there is a concept of loyalty and long-serving employees holding senior positions usually not on the basis of only merit, but on the basis of a mutual commitment to the cause of the group since long. Certainly, this is good to an extent. However, ensuring these people get ample opportunities to update their skill set to keep them fit for their positions is the organizational responsibility too. More often than not, no one’s interested in promoting such continuing education of people in family businesses.

As much as it is a commendable decision, there is a need to check that the new person at the helm of affairs realizes this, and doesn’t only keep replacing the previously employed, committed employees.

Keeping the above in mind, and acting accordingly will also ensure a growth mentality to prevail in all organizational levels and merit would breed further merit, leading to a virtuous cycle of growth and continuity.