As an avid sports fan, I have followed with interest Cricket Victoria’s recent announcement of Matthew Wade as the new Bushrangers captain. At 25 years of age Wade takes over the role from Cameron White, an experienced cricketer that has led the Vic’s for 10 years.

White’s record has been exemplary. The second most successful captain in Sheffield Shield history, he is well respected in Cricket circles, so much so that some argue White still has plenty left to give in the captaincy role.

Wade is originally from Tasmania, but his cricket prowess has led to him becoming a much loved ‘adopted’ Victorian. In his rise as a first class cricketer, Wade has made a big impression on and off the field. During his relatively short time at State and International level Wade has shown all the traits of a potential leader.

Cricket Victoria has faced a dilemma that’s familiar to many of us in management, when is the right time to promote young leaders and how do we handle the intricacies of succession planning?

The Argus review of Australian Cricket noted that succession planning was an area that had not been handled well in the past. It could also be said that many businesses also fail in this area.

Some give little thought to succession planning until its too late. Either their talented young leaders become frustrated at the lack of promotion opportunities and move on to other companies. Or there is no planning in place for the loss of an experienced manager, which then causes severe disruption to the business.

In this situation I think Cricket Victoria has got it right.

Promoting Wade into the role of captain while Cameron White is still a part of the team has allowed White to maintain a leadership role as a mentor. They have shown that they still value White’s experience and contribution that he brings to the team and shown a level of respect and sensitivity to his position.

They have also shown their belief in Wade’s leadership ability. But rather than throwing him into the deep end, Cricket Victoria has ensured that his leadership skills will be enhanced on the job with an experienced leader by his side guiding him through.

I am really interested to hear your thoughts on succession planning and how to give future leaders the opportunity to develop within organisations.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Tony Gleeson, FAIM