Succession planning is a responsibility that receives far too little attention from most boards. Yet the future success and effectiveness of a board can be increased considerably by a well thought out succession plan.
Why should we have a succession plan?
The purpose of a board succession plan is to (a) maintain the continuity and stability of the board and its officers; (b) ensure that the organization has the talent and resources to provide it with strategic leadership and guidance; (c) to ensure that the interests of the primary stakeholders are represented at the board table; and, (d) to ensure that there is a core group of individuals who value the work of the organization and who are willing to back up this support through volunteer involvement with the organization.
Developing a Plan
Development of the board’s succession plan should be the responsibility of the board’s governance, nominations or succession plan committee. The ideal time to develop the plan is just after the strategic plan has been created. However, the plan can be developed at any time.
The plan should reflect and support the organization’s strategic plan or vision. It should address the question – What kind of board will this organization need to provide the leadership, guidance and support required to help make the vision and strategic plan become a reality?
Components of the Succession Plan
- it will specify the knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities required of board members for the next 2-3 years.
- It will spell out a process outlining the steps that will be taken to recruit and involve potential board members
- It will include the training and education program for new recruits
- It will include a timetable for all steps in the recruitment, nomination and election process
- It will spell out the roles of board and staff in each part of the process
- It will spell out the resources required for the plan’s implementation and success
In order to ensure the long-term viability and success of any board, an appropriate succession plan should be developed and implemented. It should be fit for purpose and reflect the strategies that the board develops and executes. Succession planning does not need to be complicated, but it needs to be in place.
Courtesy of Vince Battistelli