Most people are well aware that the Baby Boomer Generation has begun to reach retirement age and this trend will continue to happen for the next decade and beyond in astounding numbers. As a result, succession planning has become a major issue. SGR has been at the forefront of helping cities develop a comprehensive and practical approach to succession planning for many years. There are three keys to developing an effective succession plan:
- Clarifying and articulating the organization’s core values
- Establishing a culture characterized by servant leadership from the top down
- Developing a framework that effectively and systematically prepares emerging leaders
SGR can help your organization with all three of these important issues.
Core Values Process
The SGR Process for clarifying and articulating the organization’s core values is a unique approach that provides for input from the entire organization. We use surveys and small group meetings to help you discern how well the core values are known and how well the organization feels those core values are being lived out. If the organization doesn’t have clearly articulated core values, we can help you arrive at a consensus on what they should be.
Once the core values have been established or clarified, SGR will develop a customized curriculum to enable your city to teach them to everyone throughout the organization—including new people who join the organization after the process has been completed.
This is the first crucial part of having an effective succession plan because having agreement and alignment about what really matters helps set the course for what will not change even as many things in the future do change.
Having the right culture is such an important part of succession planning because the kind of future leaders that you want in your organization, want to go to and stay at organizations with a healthy culture. We believe that only a culture marked by servant leadership provides the opportunity for everyone to thrive. That’s why everything we teach and every service we provide is with the intent of helping you align your systems under the principles of servant leadership. As a part of the Succession Planning Process, we’ll help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses related to servant leadership so that you can develop a plan for strengthening and protecting the culture you want.
Systematically Prepare Emerging Leaders
When it comes to succession planning, we believe that the single most helpful thing you can do is develop a formal mentoring program that also has a collective teaching element. The mentoring relationships that are formed provide a way for institutional knowledge to be preserved, a way for those approaching retirement to make the most of the end of their careers, and a way for emerging leaders to be prepared before they are promoted—not just by having excellent specialized skills, but also by having an appreciation for the importance of how to lead in the dynamic and challenging environment of local government.
As important as the formal mentoring program is, we have found that in order to sustain it long enough to make a difference in the organization, you also need a class where emerging leaders can learn with each other about the challenges of leadership in general and the unique situation facing your organization.
The SGR Next Generation Leadership Program (NGL) provides this kind of leadership development. The classes are built around general leadership topics presented in an interactive seminar setting, featuring an experienced SGR Facilitator and different key leaders from your organization as Co-Facilitators.
All three of these things, standing alone, can help your organization be more effective. However, when put together, they have proven to form an effective way for organizations to address succession planning without being overwhelmed by the process.
If you would like to discuss how SGR can help you with your succession planning needs, please email the Leadership Development and Training Team.