Succession Planning and Transition

Succession Planning and Transition

Under the best of circumstances, transfers of power from one CEO to another are well-planned, well-organized, and well-executed. But that rarely happens. Today, 90-95% of nonprofit organizations face the prospect of having to change their CEO within the next 5-7 years. And according to most of the research in this area, the majority of NPOs have no successor in mind, nor do they even have a plan to begin the process.

Boards cannot afford to wait until the eleventh hour, when their executive announces her retirement (or worse), before contemplating who will head the agency into the future. Identifying and training an heir apparent, or understanding the processes associated with conducting a search, are critical to the long-term viability of the agency.

I know how to create an organization-wide pipeline of professional and volunteer leaders, not just because I am familiar with “the literature” but because I have done it myself. In addition, I have conducted multiple searches – locally and internationally – and can help you avoid the most serious pitfalls. As many in the nonprofit sector can attest, a botched search or the absence of a succession plan places your organization in serious jeopardy, from which it may take years to recover.

Succession planning is not only about replacing an incumbent executive. In my work I have helped new CEOs and boards through the very challenging process of transitioning from one leader to another. Having lived it myself, I am able to relate to the emotional rollercoaster that often accompanies such changes, while guiding all involved towards a seamless and successful change of leader.

Hal Lewis wide portrait