Good Governance: Board Succession

by Mike Sessions, Ph.D.
Nine questions to help you create a more robust people plan
Decisions leaders make about people are critical to organizational success because people impact everything in an organization. Leaders are people and people are the sources of information leaders rely on to make decisions. People set and carry out the organization’s strategy. People react during a crisis. The right people fix a decision that is going badly, and the wrong people can mess up even the most brilliant decision.I was talking with a credit union senior vice president recently about how decisions about people impact organizations. She said her CU’s board did not have a succession strategy, a strategy to bring focus to its own talent management needs. Failure to have a succession plan in place led to a crisis and turmoil when two board members passed away in a six-month period. Not only was there no succession plan or strategy in place, there had been no crisis planning to assist in the process, no board position description to aid in defining expectations for recruiting new board members, and no “black book” of potential board members.

In my experience, this situation is not unique.

CU industry data also suggest that more could be done for board renewal efforts. According to a Credit Union National Association study released this January, the typical credit union board member is a 61-year-old-white male. He has served on the board well over a decade and will more than likely serve for many more years.

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