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It All Starts with Good Governance – Succession Planning

Posted By Amanda Wiedenfeld, Thursday, February 15, 2018

As an association we often tout the “not-for-profit difference.” We are proud of generally having better quality aging services in our state. Obviously, a major element of that difference is our orientation of being a part of the community at-large, reinvesting net margins back into the organization, and being governed by a volunteer board of directors.

A well-functioning board does not happen by chance – it takes hard work, patience, education, and resources to create and sustain. Boards and CEOs need to form a partnership based on common values and trust. Roles and responsibilities need to be spelled out so that boards spend their time and energy on strategic concepts and not on specific operations and micromanaging.

The primary responsibility of a board is the selection and support of the chief executive. Another responsibility is looking internally at the board itself. Do you have the right mix of individuals around the table? There has been a lot of churn happening (and continuing to happen) in our field. Many CEOs are retiring or close to retiring. It is getting more difficult to recruit new volunteer board members. It is clearer now more that ever that focusing on succession planning is an imperative.

When we think of succession planning, often we limit the scope to the CEO position. We must broaden our thinking. As we learn in the book Governance as Leadership, boards operating in all three modes of governance – fiduciary, strategic and generative – have a leadership role within an organization. Leveraging their talents to offer insight and wisdom in a way that furthers the organization’s mission is key.

Therefore, when thinking about succession planning, consider positions beyond the CEO. Focus on developing bench strength and understanding the talents needed at the board table as well. Exceptional organizations give time and energy to create a comprehensive plan for staff leadership development, emergency transitions, and planned turnover.

We are sharing articles, tools and templates to support your organization’s leadership transition planning.



Remember that good governance does not happen by chance. We hope these resources will help guide your respective boards!

George Linial, CAE, CASP
President & CEO, LeadingAge Texas

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