The Serious Business of Succession Planning
|February 6, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Management, News||
Is your nonprofit ready if your Executive Director gave their notice tomorrow? Has the executive team and board engaged in serious conversations about succession planning and the long and shorter term issues related to a change of leadership? How would your nonprofit manage an unplanned, unforseen change at the highest level?
Nonprofit boards and executives should not shy away from creating a succession strategy for fear of personal affronts or hurt feelings – the importance of this kind of planning to the organization’s strategic plan cannot be understated. In turn, succession planning should never be used as a veiled threat or first mentioned during a power struggle between the board and director. It is not personal or petty; rather it is simply part of good system maintenance to insure the uninterrupted performance of your service or advocacy organization.
A recent study out of Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research indicates that the majority of nonprofits (72 percent) in that region had executive leadership at or close to retirement age. Many also required assistance in the areas of emergency back-up planning, succession policy and planned departures, as well as general leadership development and talent management. Approximately 33 percent had used an interim director at some point, with half of those agencies reporting said director was selected from within the organization.
A note to consultants – the Wichita study found that just under half (46 percent) of the responding agencies would be likely to pay for outside help in the areas of succession planning and transition assistance. Are you offering these services to your clients?