Following someone who has failed is not so difficult, as Ryan Giggs is finding out at Manchester United. You distance your self – “My priorities are not the same. I don’t do things that way, my management style is different as are my methods. I will listen more. I appreciate the need to take people with me. I understand the history and sensitivities.”
Following on from a success story is more difficult, as David Moyes found out. Do you simply do more of the same? “I will maintain the wining formula”, even though the times have changed and your predecessor, if they had stayed, would have had to change with the times. Do you start as you mean to go on be your own person; stick with what you believe in? Develop a new formula for success?
Do you mention the skeletons in the closet? Dare you risk being perceived to rubbish the recent past? Can you introduce more realistic expectations in the short term? Can you do more than bring honesty, integrity and hard work to the post and hope to be given time to deliver.
It’s best not to follow a great leader, but be the one that follows the one that followed.