19 Oct Succession and resilience in the non-profit sector
Posted at 09:36h in Media and News
in the non-profit sector is always fraught with risk. What does it take for an organisation to survive a failed leadership transition? This takes us to the issue of organisational resilience, whereby an organisation can withstand change, whether unanticipated or proactive in relation to a changing environment.
The Wikipedia definition of succession planning is “a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they become available”.
My experience of succession planning hasn’t been so clear cut. I have worked in universities and the non-profit sector and leadership succession is always fraught with risk. The idea that new leadership can be developed is valid for large companies, but in small organisations and in specific specialist university units, this is easier said than done.
Often appointments are made with potential future leadership in mind, but frequently the promise evident at the time of the appointment does not always come to fruition and, in smaller organisations, there simply aren’t the resources to appoint an alternative. Non-profit organisations often find difficulty identifying funding for posts as many donors are still stuck on programmatic funding only, so financial resources to employ additional staff are not always available.