Succession Planning is Critical

Do you have a Succession Plan in place?

A lot has been written about succession planning, but few non-profit organizations have addressed this important component in their operations. One of the best articles that I have found on this topic comes from www.kc.frb.orgI have summarized some of the key points below.

At the core of any non-profit, you will find people; the people who serve on the board, the people who work for or who volunteer with the organization, and the people who benefit from the services that the organization offers.  Good succession planning will guarantee that those services offered by the organization will not be interrupted by organizational change.

The particular change that is of greatest concern to a non-profit organization is the loss of the people who either govern the organization or who work for the organization. The sudden departure one or more of these important people can leave a serious hole in the organization’s ability to continue its programs and services seamlessly.

There are several contingencies that organizations should plan for; Emergency Succession Planning, Defined-Departure Succession Planning, and Strategic Leader Development Planning.

Emergency Succession Planning involves planning for the sudden short-tem or permanent departure of the organization’s Chief Executive for the organization. How will your organization cope with this loss?

Defined-Departure Succession Planning is a process put in place when a retirement or a permanent exit of key organizational executive personnel is known ahead of time. Part of this process or practice may involve contributions by the individual(s) who is/are departing. Keep in mind that involving such individuals in the process can bring strength to the process or it may serve as an impediment to the planning depending on the emotional component that such individuals bring to the table.  Boards need to judge whether or not such individuals should be involved.

Strategic Leader Development Planning is a proactive process that involves developing ‘internal talent’ to prepare for leadership voids created when key executive members depart.  This process contributes to sustainability planning and also serves to build a culture of development that can increase the retention rate of the people within the organization.

All of this seems like a lot of work, and it is; however, carrying out such succession planning is critical to an organization’s success.  An additional plus to this type of activity is that it also makes a great board-staff development process, and requires organizations to review/revise many of their current strategies and practices.

If your organization does not have succession planning in place, then today might be a good time to get started!

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