The horse race is a metaphor that has been used for centuries. It is said that the first documented race was an exchange of wagers between two noblemen. Today, it is often thought that the race is about the horses rather than about the jockey.
A horse’s ability to sprint is often attributed to its keenness. They are known to be “pulling for their heads” and a brisk acceleration is a prerequisite for a win in any type of race.
A horse race is a good way to find the best leader for your company. Companies with successful succession cultures have established practices and methods to groom high achievers for the next step in the organization. The competition for a position at the top is overt, and it shows that the board believes in the leadership development process.
In addition to fostering a competitive environment, overt competition for a job at the top may also help motivate employees. A strong internal candidate demonstrates that the board and its top management are dedicated to the future of the company.
While there are a few exceptions, horses are generally considered to be at their peak performance at age five. The horse of the day is determined based on its previous performances, as well as the qualifications of the riders.
A horse’s performance is also affected by its gender. Female horses are often given allowances to run against males. Castrated horses are typically improved in temperament and stamina.
In some countries, races are conducted over distances as far as 2 1/2 miles. A shorter race is often referred to as a sprint, while a longer one is called a route. In the United States, the fastest and longest distances are commonly known as routes.
While the horse race is not the beginning or end of a company’s succession plan, it does provide the means by which a company selects its next chief executive officer. It is important to consider the organizational structure, resource sharing, and the culture of the company before deciding on a winner.
A board of directors should make sure to evaluate the suitability of the organization before deciding on a winner. This might include a thorough understanding of the senior leadership’s capabilities. Some executives are uncomfortable with the notion of a company putting its best players up against each other, but it is an effective way to pick the best leader for the organization.
The best leaders are spotted early on, and they are systematically groomed over time to assume the most difficult jobs in the company. The horse race serves as a benchmark for high achievers to measure their performance against external talent. A series of horse races at a giant like General Electric has yielded a succession of outstanding leaders.
A company that uses the horse race to select a new CEO may be compromising its ability to fill other senior-level positions. But it’s worth the effort to find the most qualified leader for the job. A winning leader will serve as a guide for the next generation of high-performing employees, and it will set a solid precedent for a company’s ongoing leadership development process.