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Nothing Succeeds Like Succession (Planning, That Is)

  1. By renaming the process succession development, you’ve already started to recast it for what it actually is – a focused process for keeping talent in your organization’s pipeline.

  2. Shift your planning focus away from specific individuals to the organization as a whole.

  3. Manage transitions intentionally with defined mutual expectations.

  4. Like most plans, succession development planning is not an end in itself; it only helps to identify the development experiences needed by staff to help them move forward.

  5. To the extent you can, keep a timeline of those transitions that are planned (or anticipated).

  6. Cross-train staff and build in redundancies, and provide leadership development opportunities for high-performing staff.

  7. Keep your succession development plan simple and realistic. Pretty straightforward, huh? No excuses now. Anne W. Ackerson Resources BoardSource. “Fundamental Topics of Nonprofit Board Service: Executive Transition.” California Association of Museums Lunch and Learn Webinar. "Change is Inevitable: The Essentials of Succession Planning with Anne W. Ackerson." May 2019. National Council of Nonprofits. “Succession Planning for Nonprofits – Managing Leadership Transitions.” Marshall Goldsmith. “4 Tips for Effective Succession Planning.” Harvard Business Review. May 12, 2009. Terry Ibele. “50 Practical Tips for Succession Planning.” Wild Apricot. December 5, 2016. * BoardSource, Museum Board Leadership 2017: A National Report (Washington, D.C.: BoardSource, 2017), p. 16. ** BoardSource, Leading with Intent, 2017.


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