Building Capacity for Change: The Power of the Body
By Robyn McCulloch and Roselyn Kay
This article explores the integration of Somatic Coaching, a coaching process working on, with and through the body, with Appreciative Inquiry as a means to engage the body more deeply in the process of Discovery, Dream, Design and Destiny. This blend of AI and Somatics contributes to cognitive and physiological shifts leading clients to recall what they care deeply about, gain clarity of purpose and connect to their values, while engaging mind, body and spirit in a commitment to action. Clients create generative, life-affirming interpretations with depth, velocity and acceleration as they move forward in their world.
What is Somatic Coaching?
Somatics comes from the Greek word “soma” meaning “the living body in its wholeness.”
Somatic Coaching as defined by Richard Strozzi-Heckleri, thought and practice leader, and as learned through the Strozzi Institute’s Somatic Coaching program, has the coach work with the “historical, biological, social, spiritual, linguistic and emotional aspects unique to individuals.” The body is held as an integral informer in initiating, enacting, and sustaining change. The process brings about change by working “through the body” to awaken senses and feeling, bringing us more alive, present and open to possibility.
The body, in the somatic sense, expresses our history, commitments, dignity, authenticity, identity, roles, moral strength, moods and aspirations as a unique quality of aliveness we call the ‘self’. In this interpretation the body and the self are indistinguishable. Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Most of us are trained to function in our daily lives from the neck up. We learn to trust our mind more than our body as we take action in the world. Without the integration of mind and body, we lose valuable information gained through self-awareness that allows us to be an integral player in the experience of life. We may fail to express our full presence or aliveness. Early in life we gain experience of the world through sensations. Before language, our sensations produce energetic reactions – cries calling others to attend to our hunger, diaper, pain or fear. We are conditioned by these early experiences – how we take action and how others respond to us. These and other life experiences shape us and later influence our choices and actions. With the introduction of language we can access words to express what we need or want and no longer rely solely on body sensations to inform others to respond. As we shift to more cognitive explanations of our experience, the body becomes an often ignored or undervalued part of the self.
By attending to our body, we develop a higher level of self-awareness. Our physical sensations and prior conditioning influence our behavior and experience of the world. Through body-centered activities, including deep breathing, meditation and new movements, we awaken our self to discover new choices, to engage with our self and others in a new way and to exercise volition. We move more effectively toward what we care about – we are clear on our organizing principle and how our actions will serve us. With commitment to recurring practices, we begin to embody a graceful and powerful presence.
Appreciative Inquiry and Somatic Coaching: Pathway to Change
In AI coaching, the client identifies her positive core-strengths and values needed to flourish, to be fully alive. As she experiences the process of Discovery, Dream, Design and Destiny, she reconnects with the “best of what is.” She imagines a powerful, compelling future and through coaching she develops capacity to reframe challenges into opportunities, thereby generating a wider variety of positive options for action. Somatic Coaching introduces an emphasis on the body by inviting the client to attend to the body, to bring awareness to its sensations, conditioned tendencies and structure. The client is invited to engage the “whole person,” including the typically undervalued somatic aspect of self, in the discovery and dreaming process. Through in self-observation of the body, she increases her capacity to reshape and reframe stories allowing her to discover a broader array of choices. With somatic practices – body centered activities – she gains discipline in mind and body to exercise her will, or volition toward the dream and moves with focused attention into sustained action. By attending to mind and body the client creates a higher level of awareness which leads to greater choice, volition, sustained action and a profound sense of accountability. She develops the capacity to take a stand for what she cares deeply about.
With both AI and the Somatic Coaching approach, clients feel and experience the connection of mind and body. Blending AI and Somatic Coaching provides the pathway to overcome fear, elevate mood and connect physiology and affect, thus tapping wisdom and energy to effect positive change at the core. The approach opens the client to the relevance of the body, thereby raising self-awareness, awareness of others and widening options for action.
Discovery/Attending to and Awareness:
Preparing for the interview by attending to the body: Before initiating the Appreciative Inquiry, the client learns the fundamental practice of centering: to be present, open and connected. This involves aligning the body in three dimensions: along the vertical axis of length representing dignity; the horizontal line of width representing the social domain, relationships; and front-to-back representing depth, where we hold our core principles.
She is encouraged to breathe more deeply to broaden her capacity to hold more possibilities. The coach inquires into the client’s mood, a bodily phenomena influencing her behavior and revealing her orientation to the world. The client notices the stance of her body, her thoughts and her energy to reveal the quality of her being in that moment.
When listening to another person, don’t just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Eckhart Tolle
With a centered presence, a deeper connection opens the listening and strengthens the coach/client relationship. She is able to pay attention to what is unfolding in the moment, observing the self, taking note of the strengths discovered through inquiry and the physiological effect of the experience. With greater awareness of her physical sensations, she elevates her capacity to reshape her being, reframe stories and reproduce energy when needed to sustain momentum. She gains a somatic sense of what she truly desires. In addition, she learns the value of attending to her body as a means of increasing self-awareness.
Dream/Awareness and Choice:
Declaring a positive future: The client reflects on her description of her powerful future and shapes a declaration for the future, similar to a provocative proposition, rooted in what she passionately cares about. She creates an image of the future that is clear and compelling. The somatic declaration is grounded and centered and felt in the body. The commitment underlying the declaration is observable in the body; she speaks powerfully; she is clear and grounded; her voice comes from deep within her body.
The collision of the dream and fear: The declaration or dream, when powerfully reflected in the body, can bring her to where “fear and dream collide.” This is the moment when she recognizes that to enact the future changes in familiar structures of mind and body are required. Structures of mind include habits of thought, stories we tell, and interpretations we make that we slip into believing are true. Structures of body include our presence: how we hold ourselves, mood, patterns of tension, muscular contractions and/or energy blockages. She knows now that success requires an alignment of strengths – mind and body – to engage wholly in creating the future.
Design/Choice and Volition:
The client makes powerful design choices aligned with the dream and supporting her declaration. Adding standing somatic practices offer her the opportunity to build awareness and strength in the body to hold commitment and to extend her will to achieve the envisioned future. Standing somatic practices are physical moves designed to help the client build the muscle she needs to focus, extend, ask for what she needs and to decline requests that keep her from achieving her goals.
The client defines her Conditions of Satisfaction as metrics for success in moving forward. Volition, the act of exercising the will, is essential to taking new actions and fulfilling commitments. Building the client’s capacity to express volition in body and mind allows her to make real progress toward the dream/declaration.
Standing in the declaration:
The client receives somatic assessments from the coach – feedback on how she is holding the declaration or commitment, which helps the client center herself “for the sake of what” she is making the declaration. Here if a breakdown occurs it is evident in the collapse in the body as she reverts to conditioned tendencies.
Designing the body for action:
When the client is challenged to uphold her commitment she is faced with old embodied habits that no longer serve her. The body doesn’t lie; muscle memory delivers an automatic response. Despite her intention to behave differently, she finds herself repeating old patterns and ways of being. She wonders why people fail to hear her requests or acknowledge her declines. She wonders why she is stressed and overwhelmed.
With conscious attention, the client feels the impact of the old patterns and is invited to design novel practices of movement, meditation and expression to literally reshape the body into a more powerful presence. Through practice she builds strength, backbone and courage in the body. The energy released creates new opportunities and new actions. With recurring generative practices, her structure shifts. New behaviors are reinforced and there is increased momentum. She develops emotional resilience, endurance, flexibility and the balance needed for breakthrough results as she holds a leadership presence that engages others in helping her fulfill on her declaration.
Why is it that our body knows the truth? The body has its own wisdom. The body is built for integrity. The body’s intelligence is wired for and moves toward wholeness. When we awaken all the systems, we create alignment. The key to high performance is being truly aligned. Ronald Jue
Destiny/Action and Accountability
Action: Acting on commitments builds muscle for sustainability. The client takes action in generative physical practices, which help her reshape the body, alter her mindset, develop strength and broaden capacity to sustain change. The coach supports her with dynamic questions as she works through and experiences herself in action.
Accountability: During coaching, if there is a breakdown in practices, promises or commitments, the client is accountable for discovering what happens in the body that keeps her from “going for” what she wants. Reviewing internal conversations (the stories she tells herself about herself) and her physical sensations leads her to reframe her narratives and elevate her awareness of physical energy blocks. She readjusts by revising actions and developing new practices to make conscious choices in alignment with her declared future.
Bringing the body into full awareness through the AI process and Somatic Coaching is a journey along a path of discovery that challenges, disorganizes, excites, reorganizes and energizes with every step taken. With a strong declaration of a positive future aligned with what we care about and a body designed to support our success, we are readily able to have choice, volition, action and accountability; in short, to realize our highest potential.
Cooperrider, D., Stavros, J. & Whitney, D. (2005). Handbook of Appreciative Inquiry. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler
Holding the Center: Sanctuary In Times Of Confusion. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books
Strozzi-Heckler, R. (2003) Being Human At Work: Bringing Somatic Intelligence Into Your Professional Life. Berkeley, CA: North
Strozzi-Heckler, R. (1993). Anatomy Of Change: AWay To Work Through Life’s Transitions. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books
Whitney, D. & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2003). The Power Of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide To Positive Change. San Francisco,
CUES Announces DDJ Myers at 2013 Supplier of the Year
For Immediate Release: September 25, 2013
For more information, contact: Christopher Stevenson, VP/Marketing & Professional Development, 800.252.2664 or 608.271.2664, ext. 315, firstname.lastname@example.org • cues.org
CUES® Announces its 2013 Supplier of the Year
MADISON, Wis.—The Credit Union Executives Society is proud to honor this year’s Supplier of the Year award winner at CEO/Executive Team Network™, Nov. 3-6, in San Diego.
This year’s recipient, DDJ Myers, Ltd., Phoenix, was founded in 1989. Employing 10 people solely dedicated to the credit union industry, they serve as a thought and best practice leader in strategic organization, leadership development, and more. DDJ Myers has supported and sustained high performing credit unions with services including: aligning talent with an organization’s strategy and culture needs; teaching clients how to build on untapped strengths and leverage their organization’s best talents; and creating rich and diverse programs for leadership development and transformative change.
DDJ Myers is passionate about working with credit unions and the great potential of the industry to ensure its sustainability and performance. However, community service is important to the company and its employees. Their intention is to give away 10% of their time a year to schools, credit unions who need extra support, developing leaders and supporting women in transformative change.
To be eligible to receive the CUES Supplier of the Year award, companies must be CUES Supplier members for at least one year. Nominees are judged on their contributions and achievements in the credit union industry, the benefits of their product or service to the movement and their role in the community. Winners receive a company profile in a CUES publication, a complimentary full-page, four-color advertisement in Credit Union Management™magazine and a crystal trophy.
To learn more about CUES Supplier of the Year award, visit cues.org/SOY. For more information about CUES’ CEO/Executive Team Network, visit cues.org/CNet.
The Credit Union Executives Society is a Madison, Wisconsin-based, independent, not-for-profit, international membership association for credit union executives. Its mission is to educate and develop credit union CEOs, directors and future leaders.
2013 National Directors’ Convention – Strategic Succession Planning
Missed Deedee and Peter presenting on Strategic Succession Planning for Credit Unions at the National Directors’ Convention in Vegas?
Click here to view the complete presentation: Succession Planning: What It Really Means for Credit Union
Deedee Myers and Peter Myers Present at NAFCU Annual
This past July, Deedee Myers and Peter Myers presented on Strategic Succession Planning at the 2013 NAFCU’s Annual Conference in Boston, MA.
View complete slideshow: Click here to view
About: Making goals is easy. Framing them in a strategic context is more difficult. Ensuring that the talent exists into the future to reach those goals is where the rubber meets the road. Strategic credit union succession planning can deliver on the promise of those goals by ensuring a smooth transition of key leadership. It can also help build a culture of continuous learning and development at all levels. Develop an organization succession plan that aligns leadership continuity at the board level and for executive, management and staff.
Webcast: Benchmarking: Recruiting, Retaining and Developing Talent
In this webcast we discuss how to draw out what another needs and desires and how to lead so that they experience meaningful success.
Click here to View Webcast (22:32)
Developing talent is one of the most important roles you have as a leader and manager of your credit union. You are accountable for attracting, retaining and transitioning employees within the credit union in order to help foster a successful and satisfied workforce.
DDJ Myers Wins NAFCU Services’ 2013 Innovation Award
BOSTON, MA (July 9, 2013) — NAFCU Services Corporation today announced the winners of its 2013 Innovation Awards at NAFCU’s 46th Annual Conference and Solutions Expo in Boston. Each year, NAFCU Services recognizes a handful of its Preferred Partners for outstanding, innovative solutions recently introduced to the credit union market.
“A credit union’s success really starts with the solutions they offer to members, and the ways in which they deliver them,” said David Frankil, president of NAFCU Services. “The winners this year offer innovative solutions that help improve a credit union’s performance across the board, from turning traffic into revenue, better educating their mortgage teams, improving marketing performance, and helping members protect themselves from auto problems, to developing the next generation of leaders at their credit union.”
- DDJ Myers – for the Emerging Leaders Program, a unique, educational experience designed to support aspiring credit union professionals to learn new leadership skills. The program teaches emerging leaders to take effective action, build the practices of an authentic leader and to reach their full leadership potential. This program includes course work, one-to-one leadership coaching, a leadership project, relevant articles and books, and embodied leadership practices. Each participant receives six executive/leadership coaching sessions throughout the program in support of their personal learning style and objectives. More information is available at www.nafcu.org/ddjmyers
- The winners were selected by the NAFCU Services Advisory Committee, which is composed of credit union executives from credit unions of all sizes.
Representatives from Insuritas, Genworth, Securian, DDJ Myers, and iSolutions will accept their awards at a reception on Tuesday night, July 9 at the conference. Attendees interested in learning more about these companies can visit their booths in the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner Pavilion in the exhibit hall.
About NAFCU Services
NAFCU Services Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). Since 1975, NAFCU Services has partnered with the industry’s leading solutions providers to offer value-added products and services at a discount to credit unions. Currently, it offers more than 30 Preferred Partner programs to the credit union community, maintains the credit union locator website www.CULookup.com, and provides free financial calculators to NAFCU members. For more information about NAFCU Services Corporation, visit www.nafcu.org/nafcuservices.
- See more at: http://www.cuinsight.com/press-release/insuritas-genworth-securian-ddj-myers-and-isolutions-win-nafcu-services-2013-innovation-awards#sthash.DuwHSMO8.dpuf
Don’t Delegate Mission Development by Michael Sessions, PhD
Some people have said that plans are worthless, but planning is invaluable. While it is true that planning is invaluable, evidence suggests that strategic plans can be valuable because they set the agenda and objectives of an organization.
Strategic plans do this by integrating the mission, values, goals, policies, and objectives of an organization into a cohesive plan that guides the organization’s resources—in the case of credit unions, toward providing members with a unique value proposition that is the credit union promise. Strategy, then, is a steering mechanism that guides a credit union toward delivering on its promise to members.
How strategy is developed is often determined by the needs and forces surrounding an organization. Boards of for-profit corporations tend to delegate strategy development to the CEO and management team, and only provide a monitoring and approval function. Corporate boards can delegate strategy development to management because the board has a relatively clear feedback mechanism of market indicators, such as sales and profits, to help monitor the effectiveness of management’s strategy.
Boards of non-profit organizations tend to engage in strategy development and delegate execution of the strategy to management. Non-profit boards develop strategy because the board generally sets and protects the organization’s purpose (its mission). Obtaining measurable and timely feedback about the impact of the organization’s mission, and how well the organization is fulfilling that mission, may be a judgment call. For example, a non-profit that focuses on social justice for the handicapped may struggle to obtain timely, measurable feedback about the effectiveness of the organization’s mission and efforts to create social justice.
The way a credit union’s strategy is developed should fall somewhere between the corporate and non-profit models discussed above. The aspects of a credit union’s strategy that are easily measured by market indicators should be delegated to management. An item of strategy delegated to management might include the organization’s ability to hold members’ assets securely, while at the same time providing friendly and ready access to those assets. Another might include growth in membership or total deposits, if such are goals of the credit union.
In contrast, credit union boards should hold onto the development and maintenance of the institution’s mission statement, and not turn it over to management. The mission of serving members as owners is at the heart of the credit union promise. It is the credit union’s reason for existing. It is this mission and how the mission is carried out that makes a credit union unique. The credit union board, by its very nature, represents, holds and emulates this mission, a mission that may be difficult to measure in numbers.
As previously suggested, boards should delegate the execution of this mission to the CEO and should diligently evaluate the organization’s effectiveness at fulfilling this promise. Management’s efforts to fulfill the mission might include an initiative that strives to reduce an owner’s time managing money matters, such as paying bills. Efforts to increase the financial competency of members, such as providing financial planning or training on budgeting, could be another.
Measuring a person’s financial competency or the amount of time required to manage money may be difficult or impracticable, but the board, a group of member-owners, must make a judgment call about how effective each initiative is in helping the institution to accomplish its mission to serve member-owners, and then hold management accountable for the result.
Strategy is an essential element of a credit union’s ability to deliver services. It should continually guide management toward improving on fulfillment of the credit union promise. It is the road map for the organization or the key system that steers the ship toward its intended destination.
Mike Sessions, Ph.D., is senior vice president of CUES Supplier member and strategic provider DDJ Myers, Phoenix. In 2007, he accepted the National Center for Employee Ownership’s Innovation Award for an employee development and succession program he spearheaded for a large national employee-owned company.
Also from Mike Sessions: “Nine Questions to Help You Build a Better Board Succession Plan.”
A CUES strategic provider, DDJ Myers can assist your credit union with strategic planning and other services.
Apply it to your Board Room:
- How is the mission statement for your CU developed?
- What things does your board delegate to management?
- How does your board make the “judgment calls” about whether your CU’s initiatives are really helping it accomplish its mission?
Brand New Podcasts: Listen to Deedee Myers speak on Board Succession Planning and CEO Succession Planning
Deedee Myers recently sat down with NAFCU Services President Dave Frankil to provide practical advice and recommendations on Succession Planning.
Click HERE to listen in:
CEOs Succession Planning (29:07)
Board Succession Planning (22:25)
No Kinks in the Pipeline by Deedee Myers
Ten years ago, Dennis Pierce, CEO of $1.8 billion CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Lenexa, Kans., created a structured plan to develop talent from within. The plan, which applied to the CUES member’s direct reports and other layers of emerging leaders, contributed to the organization meeting its 10-year goals many years early, and helped boost talent retention.
CUES member Bill Birnie, president/CEO of $205 million Eagle Community Credit Union, Lake Forest, Calif., implemented a focused leadership development plan that resulted in a high performing executive team and a financial turnaround.
Retired CUES member John Benoit, CSE, CCE, former CEO of $413 million NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, Burlington, Vt., allocated resources for group and individual executive development in parallel with an external CEO search. The effort resulted in an internal successor, CUES member Bob Morgan, CSE, CCE, taking the helm in 2012.
These are examples of succession planning done well, because the efforts put internal talent in the pipeline and supported success for internal candidates, the new CEO and the credit union. But even though exemplary credit union leaders are needed both today and tomorrow as many long-time CEOs retire and CU management grows increasingly complex, succession planning isn’t always so successful.
Succession Planning Done Poorly
Succession planning goes wrong primarily when internal talent is misunderstood and the process is mis- or under-managed. Credit unions may have a plan, but if the plan is not strategically worked and periodically updated, it does not constitute true succession planning. Here are some characteristics of poor succession planning:
|On No. 2s Moving UpProfessional growth is primarily the responsibility of the individual, and is more successful with grounded assessments and feedback from appropriate and relevant sources. No. 2s who reach out for feedback possess what our executive coaches term “exemplary leadership traits.” Too often, these highly qualified professionals are just inches away from the CEO chair, and all they need is more time and attention in their feedback about how they are perceived as leaders, what the board needs to see as leadership traits, and opportunities to practice those traits.We often hear that the No. 2 is not visible to the board and, therefore, the board is unaware of that individual’s strengths and competencies. Some No. 2s are in front of the board every month, but have no idea how the board perceives or assesses their value. The CEO can be the conduit of information between the board and the No. 2, thereby presenting opportunities for the No. 2 to develop, adapt and adjust.|
• Board members fear no one internally can take the place of their CEO and haven’t created development opportunities for No. 2s. The CEO doesn’t challenge the board’s assumption that a viable No. 2 isn’t in the credit union.
• The board expects the current CEO to take the lead on deciding who will be the next CEO. (In truth, the succession planning process is the board’s responsibility.)
• Board members lack exposure to potential successors and therefore have limited confidence in internal candidates’ competencies.
• Succession planning is a closed process wherein potential internal candidates do not know the timeframe and expectations. Thus, they are not properly groomed for the position.
• The CEO may be confident and optimistic about the CU’s No. 2, yet provides that person little relevant exposure to the board.
• Boards may have an unrealistic view of potential external candidates as being more exciting and experienced than internal candidates.
• Boards remember that their current CEO was an external candidate, and that worked out so well, they wish to replicate that process without giving internal candidates their due consideration.
• Boards have the myopic belief that an internal candidate will get the job and neglect to look outside as part of due diligence.
• Succession planning doesn’t extend beyond the No. 2 and C level.
Poor succession planning transpires for a simple reason: The conversation about this key topic has gone wrong. Conversation about succession is not an overnight or drive-by event, but ongoing, iterative, generative and, at times, emotional and stormy. If boards enter these conversations with blind spots and a certain mindset, the succession planning process will be short-lived and narrow. And these negative characteristics will transfer to the vision, strategy, and execution of strategic plans. Success starts with good conversation about philosophy, approach and desired outcomes.
Succession Planning Done Well
At the end of the day, credit unions want stakeholders to feel respected throughout the process—that they’ve had the opportunity to grow and develop, and the organization has a viable, engaged leadership pipeline. The following are guidelines for doing succession planning the right way:
|Key Definitions Succession planning processes invariably involve leadership, the role of the CEO, and how success is measured. Defining terms is important, particularly for leadership and succession planning. First, we must make distinctions among leading, leadership, and leader. Leading is the result of using your ability to influence others to take some action or to shift a thought process. Individuals can lead even when they do not have a specific title or play the role of a leader. The role of a leader is a place within an organization’s structure. Not everyone in the role of a leader actually leads. Leadership is someone’s skills and abilities to influence others. In succession planning, all three distinctions of leadership are explicitly developed as part of the plan: leading, leadership, and leader.Now, the discussion can move to defining succession planning and related terms. A succession plan is a template with boxes filled out with names, titles, and potential dates of growth and job movement. Succession planning is an iterative, ongoing process that includes numerous conversations with multiple stakeholders involving commitments, actions, and learning. Succession planning is not recruitment of a CEO. By the time a board goes to sign a contract for an external search, it means the organization’s succession planning process was not productive in evolving a No. 2 into the CEO. A contingency plan in case the CEO unexpectedly departs is just a contingency plan; it is not succession planning.|
• Start the process with a philosophical conversation at the board level, rather than having the CEO and human resources executive present their versions of a process.
• Create a forward-looking profile projecting the CEO’s role in the future. Three years is a viable starting point.
• Remember the profile is organic, and update it with each strategic planning cycle and with major market shifts.
• Include leadership competencies, values, and motivating factors in the profile.
• Create development plans for internal candidates.
• Create a dashboard to use as a guide in objective evaluation of internal candidates.
• Refresh the dashboard every year after updating candidate personal plans.
• Use external online leadership assessments to produce quantitative data to augment subjective assessments. Take these assessments down one or two layers deeper in the organization to uncover potential candidates for the long term.
• Conduct a pilot stress test to simulate an unexpected change in the CEO role. This entails an assessment of internal candidates in two timeframes: immediate emergency mode and a medium- to long-term timeframe. For example, how does the internal candidate stack up against the CEO requirements today? And, if a development plan supports the internal candidates over the next three to five years, what is the possibility of a promotion to CEO?
• Have a dialog on basic questions: Who is our drop-in candidate, someone who is ready, today, to be CEO? In whom do we invest today to prepare for the future? What are anticipated and unanticipated culture shifts? How will our current governance model work with a new CEO? What support does a new CEO need? Are we willing to invest in the success of the new CEO through onboarding and transitional coaching?
• Evaluate external recruiters in readiness for an external search. Discuss your philosophy of hiring a recruiter and the type of recruiter, his/her approach and methodology, and whether these are in alignment with your needs.
• Have open communication with internal and external candidates about the others’ existence during the search process. One caveat in doing this: High quality external candidates may self-select out of the search because of the impression they might be brought in just so the board says they looked externally while all along the internal candidate has the upper hand.
|On CEOs Moving to Larger CUsMoving from the top slot at a $50 million to a $500 million credit union is tough in terms of depth and breadth of experience. The board is responsible for protecting the credit union and needs to hire the best talent. The volume and complexity difference between smaller and larger credit unions are supersized. Yes, people skills are important and there is some transference of skills but, at the end of the day, experience and expertise with complexity have the upper hand.If you are the CEO of a smaller credit union, look for opportunities to lead a functional unit in a larger shop. After demonstrating strong performance in that unit, enter that CU’s succession plan as an internal candidate. The board will notice your previous leadership experience.|
• Inform your internal candidates about your process; be sure they do not get updates about your succession planning and recruitment efforts first from external sources.
• Keep building trust throughout the process.
Viable, effective, and structured succession planning supports your strategic initiatives, improves employee engagement, and gives employees a sufficient sense of importance to invest in development.
So, what’s next for you and your organization when it comes to succession planning?
A starting point is to have a conversation both in the boardroom and the C suite about the points detailed in the “succession planning done poorly” and “succession planning done well” sections of this article As you retool or build your own process, look to these lists as resources to double check your assumptions.
Another place to start is to talk with your No. 2, and others you are including in your overall succession plan. In many cases, internal candidates are satisfied with their current positions in the organization and may not want to be part of the succession plans. When No. 2 expresses interest, it is appropriate for the board chair to have a conversation about the succession plan with No. 2. After that conversation, it is the CEO’s responsibility to develop the No. 2 and report development progress to the chair.
Finally, and most importantly, be explicit in your board’s commitment to move beyond a contingency/disaster plan to a strategic succession plan to benefit members, employees and your CU’s community.
DDJ Myers Partners with Northwest Credit Union Association for 2013 Emerging Leaders Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DDJ Myers Partners with Northwest Credit Union Association for 2013 Emerging Leaders Program
PHOENIX, Arizona, May 10, 2013 – DDJ Myers, Ltd. is pleased to partner with the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) to develop and deliver the 2013 Emerging Leaders Program – an engaging three part training session designed to educate and support leaders from credit unions located in the Pacific Northwest.
The first session launched in March, and will be followed by another session in both June and October, culminating with a Leadership Project Presentation in October. Graduates of the Emerging Leaders Program can expect to develop new thinking and innovative solutions enabling them to take more effective action, build the practices of an authentic leader, and begin to fully reach their leadership potential both in their credit union career and personally. Each session is designed to focus on strategic leadership, building a leadership presence, and the study of various leadership models. The Leadership Project in October allows students to apply their new skills in support of both their credit union and community.
Nationally renowned speakers and trainers come from the DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute and include Deedee Myers, CEO, Mark Haeussler, President, Peter Myers, VP, Susan Geear, Executive Coach, and Stephani Stephens, Faculty.
“The Emerging Leaders Program is a unique leadership opportunity designed to maximize the effectiveness of both future and current credit union leaders. Students will learn skills that translate into greater productivity within their respective credit union,” said Deedee Myers, CEO, DDJ Myers, Ltd.
Responses from attendees at the first session in March was very positive, “Amazing, intense, and empowering are just a few words I would use to describe this week! The speakers were incredibly experienced and educated, while gracious and compassionate. The program and content were well thought out and comprehensive! This week has changed my life! I can’t wait until next time!”
Said another attendee, “Of all the personal development programs I’ve participated in, this one yielded the most insights and surprises. Everything was presented in a straightforward, unassuming way, but the tools and people combined perfectly to create dynamic conversations. Would recommend.”
2013 Emerging Leaders Program Includes:
- Nine days of face-to-face trainings divided into three topics:
- Strategic Leadership
- Building Leadership Presence
- The Practice of Leadership
- Six executive/leadership coaching sessions (two for each event) with program trainers.
- An opportunity to present final project to peers and colleagues at the 2013 Northwest Credit Union Association Convention and Annual Business Meeting.
- Individualized attention from trainers to ensure the success of everyone in the program. Classrooms are limited to 25 students.
Dates, Location and Tuition:
Week 1: March 26-28, 2013 • SeaTac, WA (COMPLETED)
Week 2: June 18-20, 2013 • SeaTac, WA (Open)
Week 3: Sept. 17-19, 2013 • SeaTac, WA (Open)
Project Presentation Breakout Session: Oct. 9 – 10, 2013
To register, visit www.nwcua.org/emerging-leaders. Full program tuition is $3,650 per person and group discounts are available but please contact us for reduced rates when joining mid-year.
ABOUT DDJ MYERS, LTD. – DDJ Myers, Ltd. offers Executive Recruitment, Strategic Organization, and the Advancing Leadership Institute for high performing organizations. Executive Recruitment aligns best possible talent with strategic objectives while guiding organizations in benchmarking roles. Strategic Organization prepares individuals, teams, and organizations for growth through Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, and Succession Planning by building on untapped strengths to leverage best possible talents. The Advancing Leadership Institute provides rich and diverse coaching programs for leadership development, transformative change, the merging of cultures, and team alignment with models that are innovative, accessible, and immediately relevant.
For more information on services offered and for up-to-date information on local and national leadership events, visit www.ddjmyers.com.
Contact: Deedee Myers, CEO, DDJ Myers, Ltd.
DDJ Myers Adds Executive Search and Recruitment Services to NAFCU Services Preferred Partner Program
WASHINGTON, DC (May 14, 2013) NAFCU Services Corporation announced today that DDJ Myers, Ltd. has expanded its Preferred Partner Program offerings to include executive search and recruitment services, following a rigorous review by the member-run NAFCU Services Advisory Committee. Executive search and recruitment services enable credit unions to create sustainable leadership teams with exemplary skills and the ability to effectively lead in diverse economic and political environments. This addition complements DDJ Myers’ Leadership Training Solution, already offered through the Preferred Partner Program.
“A truly effective executive search process needs to involve an objective third party,” said David Frankil, NAFCU Services Corporation president. “The executive search process, whether looking for internal or external candidates, requires credit unions to thoughtfully consider their strategic needs without bias, which is exceptionally difficult to do. Very few executives are capable of truly looking in the mirror to understand their own organizational strengths and weaknesses. DDJ Myers applies their unique brand of expertise to facilitate this challenging process and help identify the best candidate for the job. DDJ Myers also supports and coaches executives after their placement.”
“Our success in matching the right executive with the right credit union begins with getting a pulse on the culture of the organization. If the job could talk, what would it say?” said Deedee Myers, CEO of DDJ Myers. “This intense assessment helps to hire the whole person. We build a comprehensive view of the candidate’s leadership presence and growth potential, in addition to their emotional intelligence and personal mastery of 23 competencies. Credit unions often don’t have the resources or expertise for this type of c-level or board search.”
Myers is presenting “Strategic Succession Planning” at NAFCU’s Credit Union Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee Conference, May 15–17 in Asheville, N.C.
More information is available at www.nafcu.org/ddjmyers.
About DDJ Myers, Ltd
DDJ Myers, Ltd offers Executive Recruitment, Strategic Organization and the Advancing Leadership Institute. Executive Recruitment has star performers who guide organizations in benchmarking roles and locating and hiring the best possible talent. Strategic Organization provides experienced and quality talent with education and expertise in organizational design, strategic planning, systems design and development, leadership continuity programs, and facilitation integrated with strategy, system architecture and current and changing business models and culture. For more information, visit www.ddjmyers.com.
About NAFCU Services Corporation
NAFCU Services Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). Since 1975, NAFCU Services has partnered with the industry’s leading solutions providers to offer value-added products and services at a discount to credit unions. Currently, it offers more than 30 Preferred Partner programs to the credit union community, maintains the credit union locator website www.CULookup.com, and provides free financial calculators to NAFCU members. For more information about NAFCU Services Corporation, visit www.nafcu.org/nafcuservices.
Regulations Driving Sea Change in US Banking by David Horlock
With the banking crisis of 2008-09 and its associated high-profile risk management failures, increased regulatory scrutiny has significantly magnified the need for analytically skilled risk management professionals. The FDIC is now carefully scrutinizing bank compliance and sound risk management practices¾particularly in the areas of interest rate risk management, commercial real estate concentrations, and funding and liquidity management. The NCUA, too, is increasing its focus on operational risk and balance sheet management in the areas of interest rate, liquidity, and concentration risk. In response to these regulatory initiatives, many financial organizations are looking for talent in these areas to expand their enterprise risk management (ERM) and analytic teams.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of these key regulatory initiatives driving enterprise risk management (ERM) within the US Banking market.
Consolidated Supervision Framework
The Federal Reserve (FR)’s Consolidated Supervision Framework for Large Financial Institutions focuses on enhancing the resiliency of large financial institutions. The framework calls for supervisory efforts to focus on four key areas:
- Capital and Liquidity Planning- including:
- Maintenance of “processes that enable the identification and measurement of potential risks to [the] primary determinants of capital and liquidity positions”;
- Utilization of “comprehensive projections of the level and composition of capital and liquidity resources, supported by rigorous and regular stress testing to assess the potential impact of a broad range of expected and potentially adverse scenarios”; and
- Maintenance of “sound risk measurement and modeling capabilities, supported by comprehensive data collection and analysis, independent validation, and effective governance, polices and controls”.
- Management of Core Business Lines – including a “strong risk-management framework that supports identification, measurement, assessment, and control of the full spectrum of risks”.
- Effective Corporate Governance; and
- Recovery Planning
Supporting the key area of Capital and Liquidity Planning, the FR has also released the Supervisory Guidance on Stress Testing for Banking Organizations with More Than $10 Billion in Total Consolidated Assets. This guidance emphasizes “the importance of stress testing as an ongoing risk management practice that supports banking organizations’ forward-looking assessment of risks and better equips them to address a range of adverse outcomes”. The guidance emphasizes the use of stress testing with respect to Capital and Liquidity in particular, including the evaluation of the interaction between the two areas, and the potential for both to become impaired at the same time. The guidance suggests the following stress testing approaches and applications that banks should consider using:
- Scenario Analysis “in which a banking organization applies historical or hypothetical scenarios to assess the impact of various events and circumstances, including extreme ones”;
- Sensitivity Analysis in which the bank assesses its exposures , activities and risks when certain variables, parameters and inputs are “stressed” or “shocked”;
- Enterprise-Wide Stress Testing which “involves assessing the impact of certain specified scenarios on the organization as a whole, particularly with regard to capital and liquidity”; and
- Reverse Stress Testing that allows a Bank “to assume a known adverse outcome… and then deduce the type of events that could lead to such an outcome”.
The U.S. continues to work towards harmonizing its regulatory capital framework with the rest of the world. In 2012, the FR released three rules to implement the Basel III regulatory capital reforms:
- Regulatory Capital, Implementation of Basel III, Minimum Regulatory Capital Ratios and Capital Adequacy will apply to all depository institutions, bank holding companies (BHCs) with total consolidated assets of $0.5bn or more, and S&L holding companies.
- Standardized Approach for Risk-Weighted Assets; Market Discipline and Disclosure Requirements will also apply to all banking organizations. This rule will revise and harmonize the Board’s rules for calculating risk-weighted assets to enhance risk sensitivity and address other identified weaknesses.
- Advanced Approaches Risk-Based Capital Rule & Market Risk Capital Rule will apply to banking organizations that are subject to the advanced approaches rule or to the market risk rule. This rule will enhance risk sensitivity for internationally active firms to better address counterparty credit risk and interconnectedness among financial institutions.
Model Risk & Validation
Also supporting the key area of Capital and Liquidity Planning, and the sound risk measurement and modeling capabilities required thereof, is the FR’s Supervisory Guidance on Model Risk Management. The guidance applies to all banking organizations and covers models used for “analyzing business strategies, informing business decisions, identifying and measuring risks, valuing exposures, instruments or positions, conducting stress testing, assessing adequacy of capital, measuring compliance with internal limits, meeting financial or regulatory reporting requirements and issuing public disclosures”. Critically from a risk management professional’s perspective, “all model components – inputs, processing, outputs and reports – should be subject to validation [and] this applies equally to models developed in-house and to those purchased from or developed by vendors or consultants”.
With respect to model development and implementation, the guidance states that:
- The design, theory and logic underlying the model should be well documented and generally supported by published research and sound industry practice; and
- The model methodologies and processing components, including the mathematical specification and the numerical techniques and approximations, should be explained in detail with particular attention to limitations.
Overall, the guidance goes on to say that the quality of the process is judged by the manner in which the model is subject to critical review – and that this could be determined by “evaluating the extent and clarity of documentation, the issues identified by objective parties, and the actions taken by management to address model issues.”
Interest Rate Risk
The area of Interest Rate Risk, when compared to Capital and Liquidity, has received lower levels of supervisory attention over recent years. However, two key FR releases in this area remain important:
- Interagency Advisory on Interest Rate Risk – which reiterates basic principles of sound IRR management identified in the original 1996 interagency guidance, including the expectation that all institutions “manage their IRR exposures using processes and systems commensurate with their earnings and capital levels, complexity, business model, risk profile, and scope of operations”; and
- Questions and Answers on Interagency Advisory on Interest Rate Risk Management (Q&A), that provides interpretive guidance in relation to a number of issues including:
- Appropriateness of vendor models;
- Assessing the impact of new strategies on IRR management capabilities; and
- Internal controls and validation – including validations provided by vendors.
Regardless of our title or role, it is imperative we keep learning and keep developing as leaders. Because the world is changing so fast, we must be agile, proactive learners. The new risk management environment is a wake-up call for many of us who have stayed under the radar the past few years. It is time to do career reconciliation: how did we get to where we are now, what is going on in the external environment and our organization, what is possible with the current trajectory of the intersection of the external environment with our organization, and how do we want to be in this trajectory are provocative career questions.
If someone asked us these questions today, what would be our answer? What is our unique value proposition in our life, both personally and professionally, and how do we sustain our value to self and others?
A Sweet Treat for Local Elementary School Students
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Sweet Treat for Local Elementary School Students
PHOENIX, Arizona, April 19, 2013 – Today 750 students at a local elementary school were treated to ice cream bars as an after lunch treat following a week of annual AIMS test.
“The students work hard on these tests and even a small treat can motivate and improve performance. We were delighted to make this donation and reward students for a job well done, and will always support education in our community,” said Deedee Myers, CEO, DDJ Myers, Ltd.
The AIMS test is a standardized test administered by the State of Arizona assessing students reading, writing, and mathematics skills.
ABOUT DDJ MYERS, LTD. – DDJ Myers, Ltd. offers Executive Recruitment, Strategic Organization, and the Advancing Leadership Institute for high performing organizations. Executive Recruitment aligns best possible talent with strategic objectives while guiding organizations in benchmarking roles. Strategic Organization prepares individuals, teams, and organizations for growth, and builds on untapped strengths to leverage best possible talents. The Advancing Leadership Institute provides rich and diverse programs for leadership development, transformative change, the merging of cultures, and team alignment with models that are innovative, accessible, and immediately relevant.
For more information on recruitment, and other services offered, visit www.ddjmyers.com or call 800.574.8877.
Five Case Studies for Conversation at Your Next Board Meeting
Use the following case studies in your next leadership meeting. What assumptions does your organization have about succession planning? What are your blind spots, philosophies and practices that may no longer be relevant or go unchallenged? What examples do you have of succession planning and employee development that should have produced a different outcome?
Your CEO, John, is six months away from retirement. An internal successor, Tom, has been identified and groomed for the CEO role in an open succession plan program. His experience is top notch, expertise is strong and his leadership in the organization exemplary.
The board, in updating due diligence, has discovered some behaviors outside the organization that are troublesome. There are rumors have been confirmed about compulsive gambling, a pending divorce and foreclosed real estate. Rumors about depression and treatment by a therapist are not confirmed.
John has invested years in developing Tom and now questions how someone with his personal irresponsibility can be allowed to assume the top leadership position in the credit union. There is no one else groomed for this responsibility and the board is concerned about how effective an external search will be on short notice.
Lack of Trained Back Up
Your credit union is in the midst of fulfilling on a major strategic initiative which it hopes will support a more competitive position in the market. After an extensive RFP process, a new core systems provider is selected and the conversion starts in two weeks. The SVP of Information Technology (IT) gave notice yesterday that he is leaving. The VP of IT announced today that she accepted an SVP position down the street.
Accepting More Responsibility
You are the CEO and are meeting 1:1 with each executive and manager within the first 30 days. Today you met with the VP of Finance and she gave you notice that she accepted a CFO position in a larger credit union across town. Your credit union has turned three CFOs in four years and the position is currently vacant. You ask the VP of Finance if she had applied for the CFO role. Her response is the CEO has a philosophy of hiring from the outside for executive roles.
Legacy CEO Retiring; Questionable Internal Successors
Your CEO has announced her retirement timeframe is 24 months. She believes there are possible internal successors yet believes the board may not support any of them has potential successors. There are three executives interested in the position and the CEO has openly expressed her hope that one of the three will be offered the position. There are rumors that if the board does not promote an internal candidate, the three executives will put their resumes in circulation.
Deedee Myers is founder and CEO of DDJ Myers, Ltd. Call 800.574.8877 or call Deedee directly at 602.840.1053 to discuss your Strategic Succession Plan, or for information on Executive Recruitment and the Advancing Leadership Institute.
Strategic Succession Planning: Mitigate the Risk of an Employee Gap by Deedee Myers
There is no second First Place. Once the baton is dropped in the leadership race, your bank is at risk. Strategic succession planning is a critical step to serve the purpose of leadership continuity and mitigate unnecessary risk. If you, or any person in a critical role, unexpectedly departs or is unable to perform at expected levels, and step-in or drop-in internal candidates are not readily available assets, your stockholders are not being served. If so, risk is not effectively mitigated. This is not a gray area; it is very black and white and needs more attention in financial organizations.
This article discusses the depth and source of expertise, leadership presence, adaptive communication skills, and the need for mentors as current advanced middle-career and legacy subject matter experts leave the field. Long-time high-performing professionals are reaching their advanced middle or legacy career stages. As they decide to use their gifts and talents in new ways, financial institutions will experience a depletion of their most important asset—the human resource.
Skills and Experience: More than Book Knowledge. Skill development requires multiple areas of expertise including asset/liability management, risk to capital, profitability, funds transfer pricing, investment and credit portfolio knowledge, and relevant understanding of regulatory and compliance issues. Asset/liability and balance sheet management professionals develop an intimate knowledge of the organization that is unique to their role and how they communicate and influence the organization. Positioned properly, they have the challenge of blending analytical expertise, market, and institutional knowledge with interpersonal communication throughout diverse areas and functions of the organization.
The diverse array of required knowledge is not merely learned through education such as earning a Master’s degree, reading a book, or watching a PowerPoint presentation. The learning, however, starts in school, and continues through ongoing reading and continual exposure to learning events. Foundational expertise of this nature needs to be embodied in the professional so it is readily available as needed to respond appropriately to external markets while at the same time holding a larger vision to position the bank for safety and soundness regardless of external changes.
This embodied expertise comes only through a strong commitment to learn, practice and apply, relearn, practice, and take into effective action and decision making. Depth of learning and knowing how to make informed decisions requires the experience of the real world in diverse situations and with a multitude of challenges. As legacy high performers start to transition in their careers, a void of expertise will develop in the industry. The most critical pending missing ingredient is leadership expertise and presence.
Personal Leadership Skills. Experience observing numerous asset/liability executive searches, designing leadership development programs for financial organizations, and publishing many technical articles results in one important assessment: the most important skill of a financial executive is leadership presence. As an executive, you may have all the right answers, analyze data and produce the right recommendations, and still not be effective. How you present the information, the style of communication you use, and the believability of your message are critical to the organization.
Our industry is replete with very smart people who do good work with outstanding results, as well as with highly intelligent professionals who become disenchanted when they are not heard at work and their recommendations go unheeded. Eventually, after dissatisfaction and frustration, these professionals change employers and the cycle repeats wherein their recommendations are not appreciated.
Again, the cycle repeats and they change employers. The dissatisfaction and frustration may become chronic or, alternatively and preferably, they become aware that a fundamental shift needs to happen. The difference is how the individuals show up and presence themselves in sticky conversations, deploying resources and influencing others in the organization.
Schools and organizations miss providing development opportunities for the soft skill side of the asset/liability management professional. The critical missing ingredient is leadership presence. How you are seen by others is really what it is all about…your presence.
As an example, you spend hours preparing a presentation for an ALCO meeting on product and service pricing and expected market volatility. After your presentation of data, information, and recommendations, you leave the meeting feeling frustrated and discouraged, and this is not the first time. A disconnect exists between what or how you present and your expected outcome. Once you shift leadership presence and style to be more generative, the chronic dissatisfaction and frustration shift to engaged action and commitment.
So what does leadership presence have to do with strategic succession planning and ensuring the baton is not dropped? If you are in your advanced middle or legacy career, you are obligated to support leadership continuity. Alternatively, those in early and mid-career are required to ask for support in developing their own leadership presence. Both of you need to be proactive: the one passing the baton over the next 5-10 years and the second one who receives the baton.
Mentoring with Intellectual Capital and Leadership Presence. Organizations that demonstrate a proactive commitment to advanced learning for employees are more creative, innovative, and effective in managing change and crises. School helps us learn the basics; organizations need to harness that learning into practical application and, in doing so, create knowledge. A major shift is happening right now with Baby Boomers moving toward retirement, thereby creating a gap of millions of jobs. Some might say this gap in availability of people is not an issue in today’s economy. The wise ones, however, take a strategic view in planning for tomorrow and the not-too-distant future, assessing talent needs and bench strength. Some organizations are requiring employee development to be integral to the performance and responsibility of executives, for continual development of bench strength at each level of the organization. Each sitting executive possesses intellectual capital that needs to be shared. A long-time successful chief financial officer who shares an embodied base of knowledge with junior and senior analysts is creating a lasting legacy and supporting organization sustainability.
Listed below are some questions you can ask the emerging and young professionals in your finance and treasury functions. The answers will help shape how you mentor and support their future success:
• What are the opportunities for emerging leaders in defining and shaping their careers?
• What are the leadership challenges emerging leaders face in defining and shaping their careers?
• What are the distinct learning styles of emerging leaders?
• What are the leadership development needs you have encountered as an emerging leader?
Get Started. The time to start is now; don’t wait until a critical position is vacated. Start these conversations now over a brown-bag lunch or Friday afternoon coffee. You will be seen as a more effective leader because you share your knowledge with others and create more value on the human resource side of your balance sheet.
— Deedee Myers, Founder and CEO
DDJ Myers Ltd. and Advancing Leadership Institute
Good Governance: Board Succession by Mike Sessions, PhD
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.
In addition, a 2010 Clarkson Centre for Board Effectiveness study sponsored by the Filene Research Institute and CUES found that the majority of credit union board do not have a process in place to address their recruitment challenges. For example, 70 percent did not have director election processes in place and only 25 percent had an evergreen list of potential board candidates.
And, a 2005 Filene Research Institute study (“Board Recruitment and Selection Practices at Credit Union Boards,” not available online) of credit union boards found that 38 percent of boards did not have position descriptions and many more reported their position descriptions as being weak. Forty-three percent had not developed skill or competency profiles or had not used what profiles they had to both recruit and vet candidates. Forty-two percent said they did not have a list of potential candidates or a method to recruit candidates.
Succession is a process composed of various methods for identifying and developing talent with the goal of ensuring an organization has the right people in the right positions at the right time. With this as a goal, succession can be thought of as the entire system of aligning organizational needs with human talent capabilities. Thus, succession begins with recruitment, identifies organizational and individual needs, directs development, and actualizes potential.
Board succession revolves around a few key elements. One is to decide the capabilities, knowledge and skills–often referred to as competencies–required to fulfill the organization’s mission. Another element groups the competencies to create roles or titles so tasks can be accomplished efficiently and managed prudently. These roles are compiled into position descriptions.
Robust position descriptions serve as one of the most important resources for succession. Position descriptions set the tone, establish expectations, and provide guidance for further development. How does a person know what is expected in their current role or what competencies should be developed if they wish to excel in their role unless there are agreed upon and documented expectations?
When I say robust position description, I mean the position description should include more than duties. Well-crafted position descriptions include such things as the organization’s mission, values, leadership competencies, duties, and the product to be produced. While this makes the description longer than what is typically developed, it creates a description that helps a person to understand what is expected. Board position descriptions should support the recruiting process. They will establish expectations of performance. They can be used to set the board development agenda for the year. And, they can be used to create individual development plans.
Assuming the board is fully staffed, boards continue the process of succession planning by considering when positions might open and how to fill those positions once they are open. Part of the succession consideration should be demographics of the board, to ensure the board adequately represents members’ interests. Board diversity is a strategic, if not moral, imperative.
Boards are the highest form of leadership and directors should be proactive, out in front, and leading by preparing a plan for future needs, as opposed to reacting when needs arise. Boards are responsible for their own work: to manage their agenda, to find their replacements, to develop themselves, to design their jobs, to discipline themselves, and to measure their performance. There is no human resources department serving the board’s recruiting or succession needs. The board is the search committee for its own replacements. As such, each member of the board should be intimately aware of the qualities and duties required and be constantly searching for board candidates.
While there is no HR department serving the board, the nominating or the development committee or the governance committee can play a role in succession. The committee charter may include responsibility for ensuring board position descriptions are current, collecting and assembling names of potential candidates, and developing skills at recruiting and vetting individuals. It may propose governing policy on orienting new candidates or providing an associate role on the board–people who gain experience by attending board meetings, but do not vote.
In summary, succession at a board level includes recruiting, vetting, nominating, and orienting. It also includes the discipline required to establish written expectations memorialized on a position description. It includes regularly scheduled discussion about succession, board needs, and even a crisis plan for unexpected departures. Succession also includes development of each board member with the goal of exceptional excellence in governance.
Consider putting succession on the agenda and include the following nine questions designed to spur examination of current processes and aid in developing a more robust succession and development plan.
- Does the board have a succession plan?
- In what ways does the board locate and recruit effective board members?
- Does the board know its succession needs and when those needs are to be filled, or is the board reactionary?
- How does the board find members?
- How does the board know when it has found a good member?
- What should/must a new board member know prior to voting?
- How do new board members know what is expected of them?
- How will a person obtain or meet the orientation requirements?
- How will the person know when he/she has met the orientation/development requirements?
Mike Sessions, Ph.D., is senior vice president of CUES Supplier member DDJ Myers. He accepted the National Center for Employee Ownership’s Innovation Award for an employee development and succession program he spearheaded for large national employee-owned company.
Recruiting Board Members by Mike Sessions, PhD
Someone recently said to me: “Recruiting board members? I thought recruiting is what boards did when they looked for a CEO. I had never thought about finding new board members as ‘recruiting.’” But boards are responsible for more than filling the CEO position — they are responsible for finding and training new board members.
Board succession planning is a process that requires intention, attention and effort. It’s about putting systems in place to ensure that the right people are in the right place at the right time. It means aligning the strategic and governance needs of the board with the talent required to carry out those needs. This is the duty of the board, not staff or management.
It’s not enough to find good people. Board members must be educated so that they understand the credit union, policy and governance before they begin voting. The transition should appear seamless and not disrupt the credit union or board’s function. This requires forethought and planning to ensure that recruitment and new member orientation policies remain active.
Two recruiting methods exist: One is open and the other is closed. Open simply means you announce positions in the newspaper or on your website. We know of credit unions that openly advertise for board positions. They receive numerous responses from a diverse group of members and are able to solidify good candidates.
Other credit unions believe open recruiting is problematic. They find that vetting and qualifying members for a board post can be difficult. Turning away or turning down members, they suggest, has unintended negative consequences. These credit unions prefer that board members keep their eyes open for members who might be qualified and have an interest in serving. Names are forwarded to the secretary, who keeps a running list.
Closed recruiting takes place when the open position is not announced publicly. We have found that a closed process tends to produce candidates who are “like me.” People who are known and are liked are more apt to be recommended. With the demographic of credit union boards being predominantly white males 61 years of age, it is important to be intentional about the process you undertake and the outcome you hope to achieve.
Steps to Success
It may take longer than anticipated to recruit, vet through the nominating committee, approve through the entire board and orient a new board member. Our experience suggests that it takes about one year for a person from recruitment through orientation — including learning governance and building familiarity with the implications of policy — to the moment they feel fully informed when it’s time to vote.
Your membership relies on each board member to function properly at all times, even in the event of unplanned departures. To make this happen, follow these steps:
- Add succession planning to your board agenda.
- Talk about diversity.
- Consider an open versus a closed process.
- Decide on what a person must know before voting.
- Sketch out a timeline for the entire process.
- Consider unplanned board departures.
- Write a policy on board succession.
If you do this, you will have started down the road of giving board succession the intention, planning and effort your members expect.
Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
This is a book about possibility and re-framing opportunity. It presents concepts that shift thinking to “Blue Ocean”, one which assumes the implementation of a Value Innovation, from “Red Ocean”, one which assumes a bloody competitive frenzy. The authors present a different view of strategy and planning that is not oriented to taking away business from competition but instead encourages value innovation.
C Yourself: Executive and C Level Leadership Development Program
Do you want to be seen as an exemplary leader?
Are you looking to leverage your strengths, effect meaningful change and be recognized as top promotable talent? Would you like to be assessed against an industry C Level benchmark? It is time to proactively strategize your career development.
Development Program Includes:
- Rigorous Leadership Assessment Leadership Presence
- Personal Mastery Competencies Emotional Intelligence
- Board Desired Leadership Behavior Communication Skills
- Career Development Plan
- Leadership Development Plan
- Presentation Skills
- Conflict Management
- Effective Decision Making
- Futuristic Thinking
- Creativity and Innovation
- Written Communication
- Strategic Succession Planning
Job Benchmarking: Let the Job Talk to Create a Solid Foundation for Development & Selection
Businesses everywhere are seeking better ways to secure the talent necessary for success. But what talent does a job require for superior performance? Only the JOB has the answer, so let the job talk and listen carefully. TTI’s patented job benchmarking process enables businesses to assess the job and talent to find the best job fit.
Depending on the benchmarking tool used, you can quickly determine the behaviors, values, personal skills and task preferences required for superior performance. TTI’s job benchmarking process makes it easy to remove common biases often associated with the hiring process. Instead, factual data based on job requirements provide a solid foundation for coaching and hiring success!
A Triathlete Amputee Muses About Missing an arm, but not courage
Triathlete, published author on leadership and management development, and mother of quadruplets, twins and three other children, never leaves the house without lipstick in her purse. She’s always prepared and presentable, no matter what. In Eighth grade her mother told her that she needed all the help she could get given that she was born with a congenital amputation of her left arm.
A Triathlete Amputee’s Thoughts On Her Body: Missing An Arm, But Not Courage, Part 1
“Leadership expert, triathlete and mother of quadruplets, twins and three other children, DeeDee Myers is never without lipstick in her purse. She’s always prepared, always presentable, no matter what. In Eighth grade her mother told her that she needed all the help she could get given that she had just one arm.”