When most nonprofits consider succession planning, they view the board working episodically when it senses a looming change on the horizon. Author Tom Adams argues that rather than experience abrupt changes in sustainability, organizations can, instead, create a culture of continuity through leadership development. What does that mean? Listen to his sound bites below and find out.
CausePlanet: The statistic that 75 percent of nonprofit leaders plan to leave their positions coupled with the statistic that 71 percent of nonprofits don’t have a succession plan in place is staggering. If you could push the rewind button for a nonprofit when its CEO resigns, what preparations would you recommend they make as they head toward this change of leadership hands?
Tom Adams: Look at sustainability – 4 dimensions
CausePlanet: What’s the biggest elephant in the room when broaching the subject of succession planning with the board and current CEO?
Tom Adams: What is the elephant in the room?
CausePlanet: What’s the most common barrier to or misconception about succession planning that prevents nonprofits from engaging in the steps to begin a plan?
Tom Adams: There is a normal fear of misunderstanding–the executive feeling forced out or the board feeling the executive is concerned about confidence in her/him. So, it is easy to put off. The second barrier is a narrow understanding of the benefits. Succession planning ought to be more than a check-the-box completion of some boilerplate documents. It is a strategic process that advances mission effectiveness and the leader development culture. When seen more broadly, it is still hard to find time. With the CEO and board champions, it happens and the value becomes clear.
In this last sound bite, Adams shares two organizations that grappled with the anticipation of succession planning and made some important discoveries: Two examples from the nonprofit sector.
Learn more about The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide.