A horse race is a contest of speed among horses that are either ridden by jockeys or pulled in sulkies and driven by drivers. The sport began in ancient Greece and spread throughout the world. It was particularly popular in Ireland, where it continues to thrive. The classic succession “horse race” pits several recognized candidates against each other for the CEO role. While some executives and governance observers are uncomfortable with this approach, it has helped many admired companies choose exceptional leaders.
The horse race metaphor is often used in political campaigns to describe the tense and competitive nature of a close election. However, the metaphor runs the risk of emphasizing differences in appearance and character while neglecting issues of substance. It also tends to overlook the fact that a winner is unlikely to emerge until the race has ended and the votes have been counted.
Horse races have been held since ancient times, and they were the main form of transportation in many parts of the world before the development of railways. The race is a long, difficult competition that requires skill and determination for the participants.
During a horse race, participants must ride their horses through the course and leap over any obstacles or hoop (if present) in order to win the prize money. During the race, the riders have to obey the instructions of the stewards and must try their best to complete the course in the fastest possible time. If they fail to follow the stewards’ instructions, they may be disqualified.
In addition, the horses must be well-trained in order to perform to their full potential. The horses are usually conditioned with regular exercise and a variety of medicines such as antibiotics and painkillers. They are also fed and nourished in order to perform at their best. In some cases, the owners even inject their horses with illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
The horse race industry is filled with crooks. They use dangerous and illegal drugs to increase the horse’s performance and to mask its pain, which makes it prone to injury. Then they sell the injured horse to new owners without disclosing the truth. These horses then end up in the slaughter pipeline.
Proponents of the horse race approach argue that allowing several high-level executives to compete for the top job will motivate the organization’s people and encourage them to strive for excellence. They also point out that the process allows the board to assess its leadership development processes and its ability to cultivate strong internal candidates. This strategy has been successfully used at such giants as GE, Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline. It is important that the board and current CEO evaluate whether the company culture and organizational structure are suitable for a horse race. If they are not, the company should consider alternative succession strategies. In such cases, the board might find that it is more effective to promote an experienced executive than to hold a horse race.