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?


Personal Irresponsibility

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.

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