Succession planning: Beyond the why

By Sean McDonald

Succession planning – it’s probably something that you’ve heard tossed around in conversations and in management meetings.  The concept of succession planning is being talked about a lot lately.  There’s a very good reason for this: there will be quite a few baby-boomer CEOs and other credit union Executives who will retire in the next 5-10 years, if not before.

Therefore, credit unions are having to develop written plans that identify the steps that will be taken when these retirements occur.  But pending retirements shouldn’t be the only reason for credit unions to engage in the succession planning process.  Indeed, besides retirement, there are several other reasons such as key executives leaving the credit union for a job opportunity elsewhere, key executives being terminated or, in nicer terms, “separated from the organization,” etc.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I am not just talking about the CEO here.  That’e because, for most credit unions, succession planning should go deeper than the CEO.  What happens if your CFO leaves? How about your COO or VP of Marketing?  The titles aren’t the most important thing to consider – it’s the function that matters.  Think of them as your TOP financial officer, your TOP marketing employee, your TOP business development employee, or your TOP IT employee.  That will help you determine the positions for which you should have a succession plan.

Succession planning doesn’t have to be complicated.  Essentially, it involves 5 steps that you can easily remember by using the acronym H.E.L.L.O.

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