Time’s Ticking…Don’t Forget to Succession Plan!

Mark Arnold
Time’s Ticking…Don’t Forget to Succession Plan!

Imagine your credit union or community bank as a ship…a ship with an amazing captain and first mate. These two are visionaries, and they’ve steered the ship so long it feels like they’ll be there forever.

But they won’t.

Someday soon, one or both will retire. And who’ll steer the ship then? Do you know? If not, you’re entering dangerous waters. 

The truth is, you need a succession plan if you want a successful future. You want the right CEO or board members at the helm when the current ones leave, and you’re running out of time to groom those perfect successors. 

Let’s go over how you can start succession planning today and dodge any iceberg in your path.


Review Your Business Continuity Plan


What’s a business continuity plan? It’s something to outline how business will continue following a disaster or tragic event, which includes who will assume vacant leadership roles after those events.

However, 51% of companies don’t have a business continuity plan – an especially scary statistic since a break in continuity can lose you $10,000 an hour! 

Don’t let your credit union or community bank lose money or direction. Review your business continuity plan to describe who will fill each leadership role in case of an emergency. This will also be a great way to identify any training gaps. 

For example, you realize there’s no one with the skillset to replace your CFO. That’s a training gap. You need to start training someone to do the CFO’s job so everything runs smoothly, which leads us to our next point…


Train Your Backup Leaders


Your backup leaders are your middle managers or non-voting board members. They’re your next-in-line leaders, and you can’t shut them out. If you want them to be future executives and full board members, you must mentor them.

What does mentoring mean? It means focusing on some key learning areas:

  • Teaching them to think strategically (big picture), not just tactically (nitty-gritty)
  • Involving them in your day-to-day so they can learn your job duties
  • Holding regular one-on-ones to discuss leadership challenges and successes 

You may find they need more mentorship time than you can give them. If so, outside leadership training can help fill in the gaps.


Proactively Map Out Who’s Next in Line


As a credit union or community bank leader, it’s hard to be proactive when you’re busy all the time. It might feel easier to put out fires as they arise, even if that fire is choosing the next CEO. But trust me, it’s far easier to take extra time to succession plan now than it is to figure it out later.

Because “figuring it out later” usually translates into a political nightmare of competing interests all vying for open leadership positions.  

Don’t let your transition period look like a British parliamentary session. Hand pick successors and make sure everyone knows the plan. If you’re going to hire outside leadership rather than promote from within, make that known too. 

Staff will not only appreciate your transparency, but they’ll also accept the future leadership as an unchangeable fact. In essence, you’re cutting off unhealthy competition at the knees.

And if you’re struggling to find the time to develop those future leaders, On The Mark Strategies can help prepare them for the leap.We’ll save you time while still giving future leaders the development they need. Ask about leadership training today!

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO