I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.
Recently I met with a client who recruited a new team member with a view to this person being a potential successor. What appeared to be a great "marriage" has thus far proved to be a disappointment for all concerned. There are many reasons for this but it highlights why a successful marriage (whether to a prince or to an organisation) requires a bit more forethought and attention than the fairytales would suggest.
It seems less likely that Prince William's new wife will suffer in the way his mother did when she joined "The Firm." A combination of factors augur well for more success:
1. Prince William is determined to ensure that lessons are learned from the past
2. Kate has the advantage of being more mature and self-assured than Diana was at the time of the marriage
3. The Royal Family is probably more enlightened because of events over the past 30 years and will be keen to see this marriage as positive and sustainable PR for them.
When somebody joins a team or organisation for the first time, too many people tend to assume that a positive "courtship" (e.g. interviews, etc) automatically will ensure a solid "marriage". To their great cost, they are often proven wrong. In my experience, some extra care and attention from both parties in the early stages can make all the difference.
Proper induction to help people settle in, feel welcomed and productive (without being completely overwhelmed) from the outset makes an huge difference. Equally, the new employee needs to be proactive and confident in themselves, whilst being respectful of, and keen to learn about, the existing culture, people and team dynamics.
There is a sense that Kate Middleton is getting and giving that from the outset. The new member of my client's team hasn't to the same degree. He came in to a very challenging environment with minimal support. At the same time, he failed to be sufficiently confident and proactive from Day 1. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression and he is now facing an uphill battle to win respect.
I could be wrong, but I think Kate's confidence and William's determination to ensure his marriage is more successful than that of his parents means that a more solid foundation is being built from the outset.
Leaders, organisations and new recruits would save a lot of time, money and heartache if they invested a little bit more in getting it right from the beginning.