Dr. Flo
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Succession Planning – The RoadMap To The Future

By on October 21st, 2017


As a leadership consultant, observing the positive responses towards a succession plan gone right is truly remarkable. Succession planning is tedious and challenging but the great leaders invest the time and effort, long before they need to or actually have to hand over the reins of their enterprise, organization.
The story of Willow Creek’s succession announcement caps a case study, that highlights a leadership transfer to the next generation.

“Willow Creek’s six-year succession plan for the megachurch, which was founded in 1975 and has grown to rank among the 10 biggest in America. The 65-year-old pastor joins a wave of greying leaders who have opted to go public with their leadership transition, as Hybels first disclosed at the church’s 2012 Global Leadership Summit.” This was a succession plan, initiated by Bill & Lyne Hybels as they turned 60.


In the non-profit sector, and specifically, religious organizations, the model of choice, has always been family centric wherein, the founder transfers leadership to his or her descendants. However, the Willow Creek approach deviates from that model to one that in my opinion should serve the next generation well into the future. I do expect to see more thought diversity to arise as others begin to explore and consider the leadership model for their organizations.


Here are some salient points to consider and incorporate into your succession planning –
  1. Start with the WHY – For non-profit and religious organizations in particular that typically starts with reflection and prayers
  2. Study – This ought to be continuously however, more importantly pay attention to seasons, demographic composition, top issues and concerns to adequately capture and understand the cycle or season around your organization in 5 year chunks
  3. Start before you need to – Develop a succession plan well in advance before it is required or needed
  4. Review – Spend time tinkering, reworking and validating, the succession plan with key stakeholders. Note that the leadership team must focus on attributes, define roles and responsibilities for candidates is critical to long term success
  5. Publicize – Share the information as soon as you’ve agreed on the succession journey. Remember strong organizations document their succession plan just as they would document an investment strategy, fundraising plan, or the details behind a capital campaign. It shouldn’t be something only discussed behind closed doors
  6. Focus – Work  vigorously towards ensuring the plan succeeds. Evaluate goals, targets and seek for feedback
  7. Flexibility – Remain open to the unconventional during the process
To your continued success & excellence,
Dr. Flo
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