Developing a succession plan for an organization is a basic risk management exercise, yet many nonprofits have not taken the time to consider how they will continue their important work in the wake of leadership changes. Admittedly, succession planning takes time, but the time investment now can yield future benefits when the organization is able to successfully manage its way through changes in leadership without gaps in services or organizational activities. Here are some initial ideas to get the conversation started.
Succession Planning for the Executive Director
If boards think about the departure of the director at all, they prefer to think about a planned departure—one that includes plenty of lead time and overlap with the incoming director to help with a smooth leadership handoff. Realistically, this scenario is not always possible, so a succession plan should include contingencies for both the planned—as well as the unplanned—departure of the executive.
Succession Planning for the Board
Boards tend to think of succession planning as something that is specific to staff leadership, yet board leadership plays a key role in maintaining the strength and focus of an organization. Therefore, it makes sense to develop a leadership succession plan for the board as well.
Like other types of planning, succession planning helps get everyone on the same page about the assumptions and priorities of the organization. Developing succession plans for the organization’s staff and board leadership ensure that the services the organization provides are not diminished in the wake of leadership changes. Transitions and change are a fundamental part of the life of organizations; preparing for them can make the challenges of change easier to manage.
Read my full article in the Corridor Business Journal