Leadership Succession Plan for your NGO

A “Leadership Succession Plan” may sound irrelevant for many NGOs in developing countries because these organizations do not visualize their future beyond projects. But now as time moves ahead and first generation leaders have to hand over responsibilities to the second generation for continuing the services of the organization, it is important to have a “Leadership Succession Plan.”

While it is true that succession will happen one day, is a plan essential? Yes, because if an organization decides upon handing over management responsibilities to a new leader at the last minute, it can cause misbalance in the structural system. Organization may end up being unmanageable and inefficient if proper leaders are not identified and promoted. A plan helps in identifying potential leaders, strengthen their capacities and then allow smooth transmission of responsibilities. Besides, a plan also helps ensure that there is back up to cover any risk of suddenly not having a leader. A Leadership Succession Plan also pleases the donor agency because the principles of accountability and transparency have been upheld by the organization.

How to develop the “Leadership Succession Plan” for an NGO?

The “Leadership Succession Plan” is mostly based upon the Performance Management System of the organization. The Performance Management is a critical component of the Human Resource Development. It ensures better performance and growth of your organizational staff. While applying it, more skilled staff members begin to rank well at the top. They can be used for filtering more talent to finally identify the leader under the Leadership Succession Plan. To know more about Performance Management System, visit this link.

Some tips on the “Leadership Succession Plan”

  • The Board of Members should support and approve the plan.
  • When developing the Leadership Succession Plan, make sure that you have identified the leadership needs of your organization in the next five, ten or fifteen years.
  • Leadership Succession Plan is not about just identifying one leader such a director. It is also about the team of leaders within the organization, who lead others and handle major responsibilities. During staff analysis, list out the individuals who may be retiring in the next five years or so and what skills and competencies are needed to fill their positions.
  • Through Performance Assessments, identify the potential staff members who can become the next-generation leaders of the organization.
  • List out skills and competencies needed for leaders in the present generation like for example, they need to be familiar with technology which is a requirement in this age unlike for the first generation leaders of NGOs.
  • Determine the training and development needs of the potential leaders in the staff and being the process of involving them in the decision-making process of the organization.


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