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1 Daring to Depart: Executive Succession Planning Strategies PNAIS Institutional Leadership Conference October 26, 2008 Nancy R. Axelrod Governance Consultant.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Daring to Depart: Executive Succession Planning Strategies PNAIS Institutional Leadership Conference October 26, 2008 Nancy R. Axelrod Governance Consultant."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Daring to Depart: Executive Succession Planning Strategies PNAIS Institutional Leadership Conference October 26, 2008 Nancy R. Axelrod Governance Consultant Founding President, BoardSource

2 2 Goals of the Session Review results of latest research on executive transitions/succession planning challenges & opportunities. Review practical steps that the Head and the Board can take for successful succession planning.

3 3 Chief executive leadership transitions are: Investments in the future Not always expected Often neglected, poorly planned, and/or executed Not amenable to one size fits all approaches Dependent on collaborative planning by the board and head

4 4 Succession Planning Vs. Executive Search SP ≠ executive search or grooming an heir. SP is an ongoing process rather than an intermittent event. SP begins at the time that the new Head is selected. SP is not a linear process.

5 5 Daring to Lead 2006: Highlights of a National Study of Executive Leadership Executives plan to leave their jobs – but not the nonprofit sector – within five years. Boards of directors contribute to executive burnout. Concerned with organizational sustainability, executives seek new skills and strategies. Bench strength, diversity, and competitive compensation are critical factors in finding future leaders.

6 6 Why is executive succession planning neglected?

7 7 Succession Planning Readiness Assessment

8 8 Succession Planning Tools What can I do as Head to ensure that our school has an effective succession plan?

9 9 Key Succession Planning Steps for the Head Take responsibility for the board. Build a “leaderful” organization. Grow organizational infrastructure/capacity. Ask for help.

10 10 Live in the question: Am I still the right person for this job? Engage in career planning. Help the board develop an emergency leadership transition plan.

11 11 Succession Planning Tools What can the Board do to ensure that our school has an effective succession plan?

12 12 Key Succession Planning Steps for the Board Take responsibility for the board. Create climate for executive leadership & support/Actively monitor Head’s job satisfaction. Insist on adequate salary and benefits for the Head. Conduct board, Head, & institutional assessments. Develop ELT plan. Discuss succession planning.

13 13 Dimensions of the ELT Plan Communication and notification Financial oversight Legal counsel Acting/Interim management Executive search

14 14 What steps will we take to ensure adequate succession planning?

15 15 Helpful resources on chief executive succession planning Chief Executive Succession Planning: The Board’s Role in Securing Your Organization’s Future, by Nancy R. Axelrod. Published by BoardSource: Board Newsletter:

16 16 “ While chief executive departures are often unexpected, executive leadership transitions are inevitable.” Source: Chief Executive Succession Planning: The Board’s Role in Securing Your Organization’s Future, by Nancy R. Axelrod: BoardSource 2002.


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