Succession Planning Vital For Any Organization

Prepare Today for Tomorrow’s Leader

succession plan

Succession planning is a prominent issue I have observed not only in business but also in the non-profit world. Baby boomers are retiring left and right and as a society, we are doing a horrible job of being proactive and preparing for the inevitable transition of replacing our leaders. Why do we wait until someone retires or is no longer able to run an organization to find a replacement? We as leaders need to start doing a better job of creating a succession plan for our organizations so they don’t suffer a slow death as a result of losing a leader or not being able to find a replacement.

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Understand Succession Plan is a Process

The most important take-away for you in this article is the fact that succession planning is not easy; it doesn’t happen overnight; and it won’t happen unless you start TODAY! Having a continuous plan of succession is just as important as your organization’s vision; they go hand in hand. Your vision tells you what you want your company to look like in the future and your succession plan will assist in the continuity of your organization and will ensure it stays alive. Another importance of succession planning is the fact that it allows you to analyze what needs to happen now and implement change now. Do you have a succession plan for your organization? Don’t worry, it’s not too late. Today I will give you some tips to assist you in starting to create a succession plan for your organization.

Start Succession Development Today

I know I keep referring to this as succession planning, but in all honesty, it is more of succession development which means you need to begin developing your people so they will have the skills and training necessary to lead the organization. No matter if you are a business or non-profit; you need to continuously develop your employees or volunteers. Look around your organization and start identifying the people who have the potential and more importantly the desire to move up into a leadership order accutane role. For this step, make sure you understand that skills can be taught. Character and values can not be taught. Make sure the people you are investing time to train possess the character and values that match the vision of your organization. You can have the smartest person on your team that is highly skilled but if they lack the passion, drive and ethics you are looking for, they will not be a good fit to take over some day.

Understand Your Goals & Objectives for Succession Planning

The most important step to this process is clearly understanding what your goals are for your organizations’ succession plan. Are you going to retire in 5 years? Do you have senior management getting ready to retire? Whatever the case may be, you need to be aware of what you are trying to accomplish in order to create a road map to help you achieve your succession goals.

For example, if you are planning to retire in the next 5 years, you need to identify possible replacements that exist in your organization. If you feel you don’t have anyone who possesses the talent and desire to take over, then you need to start bringing in new talent to the organization. Once again, being pro-active will benefit your long-term vision for the organization. If you run a non-profit, do you have the type of volunteers who could take over the reigns of the organization? If not, you need to start recruiting the “right” type of volunteers who will have the desire to lead the organization.

Write Your Plan

Now that your “wheels are in motion” and I have you thinking about succession, don’t procrastinate any further; WRITE YOUR PLAN!!

Here are some great books that can help you further prepare the succession plan for you business or non-profit:

Business Succession Planning for Dummies

The Leadership Pipeline – How to Build the Leadership Powered Company

The Non-Profit Leadership Transition and Development Guide – Proven Paths for Leaders and Organizations

Now, start planning your succession!


-Sofia Valenzuela, CEO, Tracy Chamber, svalenzuela@tracychamber.org