Today’s Agenda Introduction to succession planning o What is it o Its benefits o Survey results o The awkward topic Organizational Readiness for Succession o Key elements for sustainability o Emergency succession planning
Today’s Agenda Founder / Executive Readiness o Knowing when it’s time to leave o Barriers & resources o The transition path o Grooming a successor Board Readiness o Succession Policy & Sustainability Plan o Leading transition & search o The post-founder board
5 Succession Planning What is it? A risk management best practice Preparation for a successful leadership handoff A leadership development strategy A path to organizational sustainability A critical board and executive responsibility
6 Additional Benefits of Succession Planning Makes the CEO position more “doable” Retains talented staff Engages and reassures the board Gives confidence to funders
Survey Results 25 Respondents Staff size? 0 to 6 employees – 13 12 - 16 plus – 3 20+ - 6 Emergency Succession Plan in place? Yes – 6 No – 19 Grooming a successor? Yes – 21 No - 4
Survey Results ED’s: How much longer on the job? “Just passed the baton” - 1 2 years or less – 6 3 to 10 years – 7 “As long as the Lord directs” – 3 Board ready to manage the transition? Yes – 14 No - 7
The Awkward Topic What are your fears? What makes it difficult to talk about succession planning?
Small Group Discussion Fifteen Minutes In groups of 2 organizations (4 people?), discuss the status of succession planning in your organization. Be prepared to report out 2 themes that emerged in your group.
11 Three Windows on Succession Planning 1.Organizational Readiness 2.Founder / ED Readiness 3.Board Readiness
Organizational Readiness for Succession Issues of organizational sustainability often get too little attention in succession planning. The result is frequently a FAILED leadership transition.
Organizational Sustainability: The Key Elements Sharply focused mission & agreement on strategic priorities Viable business plan Healthy finances, especially a financial reserve Solid management team o Emergency succession plan
Resource Focus on Sustainability: A nonprofit’s journey, Dennis McMillan, 2013
Mission Focused & Strategic True to your founding principles Check on “mission creep” Clear on where you’re going next – a “strategic plan” guides & eases big decisions
Viable business plan & healthy finances Annual “profit” Ability to jettison low impact/high deficit programs Sufficient unrestricted reserve for emergencies & new directions Diversity of revenue sources – into the future Key resource relationships are backed up
Resource Nonprofit Sustainability: Making strategic decisions for financial viability, Jeanne Bell, et al., 2013
Emergency Succession Planning Definition: Preparing for unplanned departures and temporary absences A risk-management best practice
Emergency Succession Planning Five Key Steps 1. Identify critical ED functions 2. Name a backup for each function 3. Develop a cross-training plan for the backups 4. Name who would become Acting ED 5.Specify board’s monitoring & support role for the Acting ED
Sample Outline EMERGENCY SUCCESSION PLAN Procedure for the Appointment of an Acting Executive in the event of an Unplanned Absence
Cross-Training Tools “52 Free Development Opportunities for Nonprofit Staff” “’Building Future Leaders’ Diagnostic Survey” “Building a Talent Pipeline” www.bridgespan.org/Publications-and- Tools.aspx
Small Group Discussion Twenty Minutes Consider the 5 elements of organizational readiness Sharply focused mission & agreement on strategic priorities Viable business plan Healthy finances, especially a financial reserve Solid management team Emergency succession plan
Small Group Discussion Twenty Minutes From among the 5, choose the one that most needs attention in your organization and discuss why. What’s the biggest barrier you face to successfully taking it on. Be prepared to report out one or two barriers from your group.
Founder / Exec Readiness Knowing When It’s Time to Leave “Five Ways To Tell It's Time To Leave” http://blueavocado.org/content
29 Founder Readiness ORGANIZATIONAL barriers to letting go: No obvious successor “No one else can do this job” Unfinished agency business Staff and board resistance
30 Founder Readiness PERSONAL barriers to letting go: Finding the next job that engages my wisdom, skills and passion for serving the community Fearing an empty retirement Inadequate personal savings Questions of employability
31 Founder Readiness Resources for getting ready A personal coach Career planning Financial planners Peer support groups ExitsfromtheTop.com
Final Leadership Tasks The leadership of letting go The leadership of preparing the way “Following the Leader: A Guide for Planning Founding Director Transition” Emily Redington & Donn Vickers,.” The Academy for Leadership & Governance, 2001, 34 pp. www.thejeffersoncenter.org www.thejeffersoncenter.org
The Founder’s Transition Path Making the decision Attending to organizational sustainability issues Advising the transition & search committee Orienting the successor – on-site, then on-call Disappearing for awhile An “emeritus” role – under the supervision of the new executive
Grooming a Successor Do’s & Don’t’s o Do engage the board throughout the process o Do Identify the executive skills needed— generic & specific to your future vision o Do create a training program to fill the candidate’s gaps o Do measure progress regularly o Don’t promise the top job upfront
Small Group Discussion Twenty Minutes Gather in groups (5 to 6 per group) of executive directors and board members Executive directors: Discuss what are the biggest barriers to your leaving, your biggest fears. Board members: Discuss your biggest concern regarding your exec’s departure. Be prepared to report out 2 themes that emerged in your group.
Board Readiness Adopt a “Succession Policy” Create a Sustainability Plan Prepare for Transition & Search Process Attend to Board Development
The “Succession Policy” Outlines how a planned departure of the executive will be handled & how an unplanned departure will be handled. Declares an organizational commitment to ongoing talent and leadership development. Raffa Template
Creating a Sustainability Plan Form a Succession Planning Committee – Board and staff membership Conduct a “Sustainability Audit” : “What are our vulnerabilities?” Draft a plan to address the vulnerabilities
40 Board Leadership Departing EDBoardIncoming ED
Transition & Search 12 months before ED departure 1.Form “Transition & Search Committee” Board, staff, others 2.Committee drafts Transition & Search Plan Review current strategic goals – for program impact and capacity building needed. Create candidate profile - skills next ED needs to meet those goals Delineate Founder’s transition tasks Set date for starting recruitment
Transition & Search Plan a brief founder overlap with successor Define the founder’s “emeritus role” Plan founder acknowledgement events 3. Recruit aggressively 4. Screen & hire 5. Get healthy closure with departing founder Goodbye rituals Appropriate separation 5. Carefully launch the new executive
Board Development Build the post-founder board Annual board self-evaluation & development plan Annual evaluation and check-in with the executive
Small Group Discussion Twenty Minutes Question: What does our board need to be doing now? Discuss your choices with your group What assistance does it need? Choose the top two of each that emerge at your table.
Stand & Declare Fifteen Minutes What will you commit to doing going forward What help do you need in pursuing that commitment
Tim Wolfred Tim Wolfred Consulting firstname.lastname@example.org 415-647-5265