Sometimes it’s sudden, like an accident or health crisis, and other times it’s simply a short term window to prepare for a leader leaving—but it is always important to have a backup plan when it comes to a leader’s absence.
It’s called emergency succession planning, and it’s critical to your organization’s survival.
Like any good emergency plan (think of those fire drills as a kid in school) – there should be clearly laid out steps to your emergency succession plan. Ready to stop, drop, and roll? Here are some basic elements to any good leader succession plan:
- Identify the key responsibilities and functions of the position that would need to be taken over in an emergency loss of a leader.
- Who are the people/titles internally who would take over these functions in the interim? Is it one person or multiple?
- Create a training and orientation plan for these backups.
- Who will the Acting CEO be? Consider whether an Interim CEO would be best for the coming 6-18 months and how you would recruit that role. Best practice states that the Interim CEO should not be an internal employee, so they can be a voice of neutrality for other employees and provide an outside perspective to identify opportunities for improvement.
- Determine what the Board’s role in the process will be. How will they be involved in selecting a new CEO, and how will they support the new CEO and the onboarding process?
- Have the emergency succession plan reviewed and adopted by your Board.
Learn more about emergency succession planning in this report.