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Dec/Jan 2009Vol. 9, No. 10Preparing for Successful Transitions in Leadership

As organizations grow and mature, they will inevitably face a change in leadership. Good succession planning can help organizations prepare for that change in ways that can strengthen the organization while preserving essential external relationships.

A new publication from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) presents three models of succession planning designed particularly for nonprofits. Building Leaderful Organizations: Succession Planning for Nonprofits provides nonprofit boards and executive directors a framework for succession planning activities that can help the organization make a smooth leadership transition.

The first section contains extended explanations of the three approaches to succession planning: strategic leader development, emergency succession, and departure-defined succession planning. The second part looks at issues that organizations may face when planning for succession. The last section offers tools and resources that have been developed by leadership consultants.

This monograph is the sixth volume in a series on executive transitions and executive transition management. It was written by Tim Wolfred of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and is available on the AECF website: (244 - KB)

Related Item

An article in Children's Voice magazine outlines the leadership succession process undertaken by one child welfare agency. "Exiting Executives," by Jennifer Michael, describes the succession planning of a Texas agency that was fortunate enough to have the time and expertise to develop a plan when its executive director announced his impending retirement. Jeff Bormaster, a Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) senior consultant who worked with the agency, has helped child welfare agencies nationwide with succession planning. Bormaster advises that boards take responsibility for succession planning and begin planning 18 months out. This article outlines the 10-step model succession process that Bormaster provides agency boards.

To read about how the Texas agency developed their strategic plan, access the full article, "Exiting Executives," in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Children's Voice on the CWLA website: