The new Royal baby will lengthen the queue for the throne… but does the news increase pressure for some proper Succession Planning?

The happy announcement of an impending arrival for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has put the UK government in the position whereby it has to do some pretty rapid Succession Planning. Not many businesses in the UK have to think in terms of ending the principle of male primogeniture in order to get their succession plan in place but that is what faces the British government.

Poor old Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who hasn’t even worked out whether he will succeed or has been succeeded, now has to rapidly introduce the ‘Succession to the Crown Bill’ into the House of Commons “as soon as possible”.

The happy Royal news illustrates an important point for those of us who peddle our wares in the Organisational Performance field. Succession Planning is best thought about before the need rather than at the time of need.  So let’s think about this particular Royal need.

If we assume, god willing, that the Duke and Duchess’s first baby will be amongst us in Summer 2013 it is entirely reasonable to say that he/she will be 20 years old before Great Grandmother makes way for Grandpa, who at that time is likely to be in his mid eighties and aiming to certainly serve 15 years. This will make our new Summer 2013 arrival, 35 before Dad is handed the ‘reigns’ and he will be the same age as our current Prince of Wales at that time, looking to serve at least past his 100th birthday..just like his grandmother and great grandmother before him.

This makes our new (2013) arrival likely to be way past pension age before he or she gets to start work.  So we’re looking for a succession plan that takes into account 3 forced retirements from the board and ensures proper preparedness for the Chairmanship role.

Looking at this from a TWM point of view the whole story underpins the need for the Royal Family to bring some joined up thinking to their Organisational Planning. The case for fixed terms “in the boardroom” is overwhelming and I have no doubt that in future an Organisational Planning Bill will be bought before Parliament.

Never one to miss an opportunity to draw attention to the massive opportunities presented by TWM’s VODE – I have pondered on whether we might see whether the House of Windsor Limited as lead. Not necessarily hot but certainly warming.

Clearly , HOW Limited have improved on their communication skills. Nobody can deny that. Any Queen happy to parachute into an Olympic Stadium for the benefit of the media, gets my vote on her external Comms Strategy.

The very fact that HOW Ltd stood, yes stood,  in the rain on Thames Pageant day illustrates very clearly that the learning & development needs are pretty much zero – these royals write the learning material, in my book.