Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Succession Planning Time

Look around you. Estimate the average age of those in leadership roles in your non profit organisation. Where would you calculate the average age to be? 40 years. 50 years. 60 years. If you calculated the average age to be between 50 and 60 then sometime in the next decade your organisation is going to require a new CEO. Even if you were to calculate the age younger than 50 there is a good chance your current CEO will leave during the next few years.

Does you organisation have in place a succession plan? Or do you leave it to chance when the time comes? Does your organisation develop the a corp of internal leaders or do you leave that also to chance with the time comes.

If your organisation hires an external person to fill a key leadership role what message does that send to your management team? The message it sends is that they are not good enough. Or it may tell them they they shouldn't have been in that management role in the first place. If a top position becomes available in your organisation and none of your current managers apply for that position, what message does that send? It tells you they should never have been placed in that role to begin with. There is no point in having senior managers unable, or unwilling, to step into the leadership role if and when it becomes available.

Have a look around your organisation. Who are the people on your leadership team, do they have the competencies to lead as well as manage, are they able to step into the CEO role if called upon?

Identify the key leadership competencies needed by your organisation. Conduct an audit of current managers and identify the gap between their current skill level and the desired skill level. Prepare them in advance. This creates loyalty when they can see an investment being made in their professional development. Provide them with opportunities to lead the organisation, to make decisions and to learn to live with the consequences. Test them, find out those that have both the desire and the ability and nurture those people by providing them with increasing levels of responsibility. In this way the transition will be smooth and painless. In this way even if you do hire an external appointment you will have confidence in the internal team in holding the ship on course. Should one of your existing managers put their hand up for the leadership role then you will have confidence in them because you invested in their development and you will have saved the recruitment fee.

Let The Journey Continue

John Coxon & Associates
Taking You from Frontline Manager to CEO
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