Succession Planning: Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Our Thoughts

A Blog by Paula Morgan, Founder of Morgan Consulting Resources


Health Care CEOs and Executive Directors:

Do you have a succession plan?  If so, you’re ahead of many leaders who are so busy doing their job that the thought of being replaced either hasn’t hit them yet -- or they believe they are irreplaceable. 60 years in healthcare organizations at senior levels of leadership taught me to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  

Things to consider:  

1  If you have no one on your team that could be your replacement, what happens when you get hit by a bus?...(my term for anything that could incapacitate you and require someone else to take over);

2.  Do you involve senior members of your team in strategic planning -- and is there more than one person who can perform critical duties such as Payroll or managing Finance?

3.  Even if you’re nowhere near retirement, make sure you have someone on your team who could take over for you. Don’t underestimate your employees' desire to learn and expand responsibility.

Steps to take to ensure continuity organization should you become disabled:

- Hire the most competent people you can find; round out your team with people who have skills that complement yours.

- Build trust through open communication.  Invest in training and provide opportunities for people to grow.

- Consider what would happen if you had to be away for a month. Who on your team would you appoint to the temporary leadership position? Involve this person in your responsibilities and begin to hand off some of your duties.

- Plan ahead for your retirement and setup action steps. 

- In my case, I stepped back from being the President of Morgan Consulting Resources -- and we elected my two top people into the President and Vice President positions. They worked closely with our CFO and formed a terrific team. They had been part of a weekly meeting team with me and that weekly meeting continued -- but without me. I was there to be helpful when they needed me, but I wasn’t looking over their shoulders. 

- The result: I was able to slow down at my own pace. When I left our company found out they had made the Forbes list of the top 100 Executive Search Firms in the U.S., and the three women who took over leadership led the company to record earnings and more recognition from Forbes.  

It is a wonderful legacy to leave and I couldn’t be more proud of them!

Until next time.