Succession planning

“Invest in the new generation of leaders to ensure smooth transition”

“Be prepared!” the Founder said, but are we not future orientated? Does this not mean we have a responsibility to improve as we go forward, to draw closer to our mission and goals? At all levels of our Movement we can best do this by having an effective plan for succession.  

“Succession planning is a process whereby an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company. Through your succession planning process, you recruit superior employees, develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities, and prepare them for advancement or promotion into ever more challenging roles. Actively pursuing succession planning ensures that employees are constantly developed to fill each needed role. As your organization expands, loses key employees, provides promotional opportunities, and increases sales, your succession planning guarantees that you have employees on hand ready and waiting to fill new roles.” – Wikipedia

We invest a good amount of our time and effort in creating an organization that is best suited to support the mission of Scouting. As it is with all organizations but more so in a volunteer organization, people tend to leave them for reasons that vary because change, diversifying and growth are all key elements in our “business”.

If the focus of the organization is only on the short term, it may take a lot of effort to find a suitable successor to replace the lost talent. How do we move  towards an organization that is focused on managing their talent and developing their successors for the long term?

In Scouting, succession planning can also be a method for promoting youth empowerment or gender equality, by nominating young people or people of underrepresented gender as potential successor.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have identified the benefits of succession planning in their wonderful Succession Planning Toolkit  available online:

The benefits of succession planning

  • Ensuring ongoing growth and survival of the organization
  • Promoting continuity and stability of operations and policy
  • Focusing on leadership continuity and improved knowledge sharing
  • Creating the link from now into the future
  • Developing people within the organization (provides opportunities for others)
  • Preparing current people to undertake key roles
  • Developing talent and long-term growth
  • Improving workforce capabilities and overall performance
  • Improving commitment and therefore retention
  • Meeting the development requirements of existing (and potential future) positions
  • Improving support to leaders throughout their employment
  • Motivating members and leaders
  • Countering the increasing difficulty of recruiting leaders externally
  • Providing more effective monitoring and tracking of competence levels and skill gaps

As there are a lot of benefits to succession planning it is important the whole Management of volunteers in Scouting is seen as a tool to create a functional organisation that has succession planning embedded to all its operations. As the succession planning process itself is simple, it links strongly to various parts of the MoViS framework.

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An easy succession planning process is:

 

  • Step 1 – Link strategic decisions: Have a look at the vision and mission of our Movement and your organization to find guidance for creating succession planning for your organization.

 

  • Step 2 – Analyze needs and competencies needed: What are the key issues that need addressing? Where do your current operations come short? What are the competencies that are critical for the organization?

 

  • Step 3: Identify and assess talents and competencies: where can the talent and competencies be hiding? Is it inside the organization? Where in the outside world could you get the needed resources? Assess the volunteers available with the needs of the organization – with an orientation towards the future.

 

  • Step 4: Develop competencies among the acquired talents: assess and develop the competencies among those who are chosen to be the potential successors. Provide experiences and other learning opportunities while facilitating reflection and constant support.

 

  • Step 5: Monitoring and evaluation: not only for the future successors but also for the whole succession planning process.

 

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Radu Stinghe
About The Author

Radu Stinghe

Radu comes from Romania and is the Director of Youth Programme in the European Scout Office. He is following the Region's work on Educational Methods and Youth Empowerment.

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