The Board’s Role in C-Suite Succession Planning

C SuitSenior executives are often the glue that holds an organization together, but leadership should never lie in the hands of just one individual.

Nonprofits must have a plan in place should a primary executive step down. This post offers tips on how the board can play a role in C-suite succession planning.

Document Processes

A crucial aspect of any succession plan is to facilitate strategic documentation through institutional memory. Should a senior executive leave your nonprofit, information must be easily accessible to others within the organization. Have existing leaders document:

  • Everyday routines.
  • Organizational processes.
  • Organizational values and traditions.
  • Roles and responsibilities.

Just because an executive leaves does not mean information needs to leave with them. As a board, proactively push for processes to be documented. 

Openly Communicate

As a board, communicate openly to identify the traits and skills you’d like to see in your nonprofit’s executives.  Should a member of your C-suite step down, work together strategically to identify potential replacements, evaluate hiring processes and assess whether candidates align with the organization.

Build Board Member Networks

Encourage board members to expand their personal networks, which in turn increases your organization’s pool of potential leadership candidates. Board members can often lead your nonprofit to like-minded individuals who align with your organization’s needs and skills matrix. By tapping into board members’ networks to fill executive positions, you are also provided with reliable feedback from individuals you trust. 

Evaluate Existing Board Members

Board members may be needed to fill roles in the interim if a replacement cannot be immediately found. Always have board members that are ready to step in and assume leadership roles and responsibilities.

Create board member profiles so your organization can evaluate current members’ strengths and weaknesses. Uncover leadership qualities, such as:

  • Fundraising expertise.
  • Management capabilities.
  • Strategic planning capabilities
  • Strong communication skills
  • Time management.

Although current board members may only fulfill leadership roles temporarily, it’s still crucial to have the right individuals in charge.

Looking for an efficient way to create and house board member profiles? A board portal may be the answer. Download our free guide to assess your board’s tech needs, “Board Portal Software Purchase Evaluation Guide.”

How does your board prepare for C-suite succession planning? Share in the comments below.

Image Source:  Scott Maxwell