Author: Adrianne DuMond
Executive Coaches of Orange County
My colleague, Larry Tucker, recently talked about leadership lessons on this blog. He talked about the importance of vision, values, and role modeling for the successful leader. These are qualities to think about when the subject of succession planning surfaces in an agency. Who is going to mentor these qualities, and how should it be done?
Succession planning is often difficult for non-profit organizations. They run a lean staff, good people leave for a more challenging opportunity, and Executive Directors may be Founders of the organization, who have such passion for the mission that they can’t let go. So succession planning languishes until a crisis emerges. Then the Board is usually scrambling to replace the person.
The quality of role modeling becomes very critical in planning for successors in a job. Setting the example of how values and vision are expressed becomes one of the standards of modeling the job for a potential successor. It also takes some planning on the mentors part to make sure the follow through is sufficient.
Here are some steps to consider for mentoring a potential successor:
- In a private discussion clarify the mentee’s development goals for growing in the organization. This means being specific about goals in the coming year – hopefully with a timeline for completion.
- Meet on a regular basis – maybe once a month or quarter – to follow up on progress and realign the goals.
- Keep the relationship professional so that there are no feelings with the rest of the staff that the mentor is playing favorites.