Set-up for Success(ion)—Planning Purposeful Leadership Transitions

Set-up for Success(ion)—Planning Purposeful Leadership Transitions

May 19, 2021

By: Jennifer Simpson

Leadership transitions, whether long-planned or abrupt and unexpected, often have significant impact on an organization’s culture, morale, and effectiveness.

For many years, we have helped leaders navigate transitions smoothly via thoughtful succession planning and support during times of turnover. In doing that work, we’ve consistently found that organizations often enter these times of change with good intentions for identifying diverse candidate pools and ensuring continuity of mission and culture, but that absent intentional planning, those good intentions too often collide with reality.

This often means less diverse pools, external candidates who don’t understand the mission or culture, more significant internal disruption, and conditions that set the new executive up for struggle instead of success. At Integrated Work, we have developed a collection of SUCCEED offerings to address both the immediate challenges and long-term goals of mission-driven organizations committed to building a sustainable future rooted in excellence and equity.

These three distinct programs address three critical “horizons” of succession planning:

  • Cultivating a diverse leadership bench by investing in emerging leaders’ growth.
  • Reimagining succession and search to identify interesting, diverse talent whose non-traditional leadership paths have prepared them for executive roles.
  • Ensuring a set-up for success by supporting Board Chairs and Co-Chairs in understanding the role of the Board in succession planning and search, and in providing onboarding that includes executive coaching and Board alignment.

We are developing these programs to be fully deployed over the next several months:

The SUCCEED Academy, which will pilot its first cohort in the fall of 2021, is being designed in partnership with mission-driven leaders from around the country to address the long-tail of cultivating diverse leadership talent and preparing emerging executives for senior roles. While many large organizations have in-house development programs for their emerging executives, in smaller ones there is often neither a large enough critical mass of people, nor the dedicated resources to invest in this way. And, when the sustainability of the mission is at stake, developing the next generation of leaders isn’t just about organizational continuity, but about the network of relationships and partnerships that hold us up and help us out when times are tough.

SUCCEED Search helps leadership teams and Boards reimagine the way that executives are recruited in mission-driven organizations by identifying candidate criteria, aligning on values and priorities, and using innovative methods to identify a diverse cadre of leaders whose career paths have given them the breadth of experience required for executive leadership in ways that might be overlooked by more traditional search methods or firms.

Set-up for Success(ion) focuses first on working with Board Chairs and Chairs-elect to examine the Board’s role in succession planning, cultivation of diverse candidate pools and what it takes to set the incoming executive, and the organization, up for success. The first offering for this program will take place virtually in summer 2021. Stay tuned for more information.

The three programs outlined above are designed to take an explicit look at how we understand, cultivate, and champion excellence in equity and diversity as organizations grow their future leaders.

If you are an emerging executive looking to level-up your leadership in preparation for a more senior role, an existing executive beginning to contemplate your next chapter, or have a role in the organization or on its Board in supporting succession and executive success, we’d love to talk to you about your needs and help set you up for success.