Succession planning.

Succession planning is a necessity and a challenge for credit unions, just as it is for other companies. Deloitte Insight recently published a study that found 86% of leaders surveyed thought succession planning was urgent or important, but only 14% felt their companies did it well. Yet, doing it well can energize your culture and catalyze needed change.

Identifying new leaders, and preparing them to succeed existing ones, can be hard to get right. Many organizations have an undisciplined approach that’s primarily dependent on perceptions – not based on data and other objective information. The process is not transparent and employees are not informed. Often times there is a lack of accountability and managers view succession planning as a check-the-box exercise, and their efforts are ignored. Decisions may fall to a small leadership group that “knows the needs” of the credit union. They create plans based on likability or tenure, instead of thoughtfully- and skillfully-collected data. Moreover, the process can be anxiety producing and damaging to morale. Managers must face the fact they are not indispensable, and those climbing the ladder may sense the process is opaque, subjective and unfair.

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