Succession Planning

Succession planning is vital to the sustainability of any organization – business, non-profit, etc. The plan itself clearly lays out the organization’s path forward should the CEO or other leaders become unable to perform their duties due to retirement, death or any other reason. A succession plan is fairly simple to put on paper, but executing the plan requires extra effort and commitment.

Choose your team wisely: All organizations should strive to have a viable “bench” of future leaders that exhibit the core values of the organization and the ability to lead employees. Ideally, this “bench” will include a shortlist of candidates to be considered for succession when current leaders depart an organization. 

Nurture bench strength: This shortlist of candidates should receive an “Opportunity Vision” from current leaders in which their path to succession is laid out. This “Opportunity Vision” provides candidates with benchmarks to achieve as they move up in the organization and provides for interaction and feedback over several years with the leaders they will be tapped to replace.

Don’t want to invest now in recruiting and nurturing bench strength? Keep in mind that, the smaller the organization, the more difficult it is to successfully hire and place leaders from outside the organization in leadership roles. And it’s even riskier in cases when sudden, unexpected succession needs to occur. One of the primary concerns is that candidates from outside of the organization will not be aware of and often may not share some or any of the organization’s core values. This, among a host of other potential challenges, frequently has devastating effects on the culture and often on the viability of the organization itself.

There’s an old saying, “People are like tomatoes in one respect; the best ones are home-grown.” Now go get to work planting that garden!

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