“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Educational leaders and our organizations are often maligned for not ensuring effective leadership succession. A succession plan is the strategy for replacing current leaders as they move out of their positions, ideally with equally capable, well-prepared, and energetic new leaders. Also known as “building your bench,” succession planning requires identifying potential leaders early. It also requires committing resources to developing their skills and knowledge before a leadership position becomes available.
Succession planning can be important for a variety of reasons, including:
- Managing tacit knowledge by capturing, preserving, protecting, and transferring information from high-performing, experienced employees to high-potential employees
- Retaining high-performers by providing them a specific and dedicated growth plan.
- Increasing internal staff satisfaction and engagement by providing professional development opportunities and involving them in the future of the organization
- Ensuring you can replace employees with specialized skills, knowledge, abilities, and other characteristics important to the organization
- Creating a back-up plan in case of a staff emergency – someone leaves quickly due to relocation, dismissal, or even death
- Understanding your organization’s employees and talent gaps before issues arise
Succession Planning at a Glance
Our partner, Arlington Independent School District, is committed to effectively “building their bench” for both assistant principal and principal positions. In support of the district’s strategic plan goal to “recruit and retain the most effective people by rewarding excellence and providing opportunities for continual growth,” they’ve designed Aspiring Administrator Academies. Dr. Janet Pilcher and Dr. Robin Largue, Studer Education leader coaches, have provided on-site seminars and online learning experiences to develop the leadership of selected, highly effective teachers who aim to be the assistant principals and principals of the future. The resources, time, and energy that AISD spends today on their succession plan will pay off in the not-too-distant future, as academy graduates begin to fill assistant principal positions this summer.