Make Succession Planning a Board Priority

One-quarter of CUs still need a formal CEO succession plan.

September 08, 2010
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

Attorney Karen Saul says boards must make it "crystal clear" that a CEO succession plan is a top priority. In an interview with creditunionmagazine.com, Saul explains boards' succession planning responsibilities and best practices.

Directors Newsletter
Subscribe to Directors Newsletter

Q. CUNA's 2010-2011 Complete Credit Union Staff Salary Survey Report shows 58% of CUs have a CEO succession plan, 16% plan to by year's end, but 25% don't have one at all. What are the consequences of not having a succession plan in place?

A. The consequences are myriad and not pretty. A credit union with a leadership vacuum cannot deliver products and services as effectively or efficiently as necessary in today's competitive market. Remaining key executives may leave if they perceive the credit union is losing direction or market share, or if they become embroiled in a poorly designed contest to fill the leadership void. Morale degrades when leadership falters.

Board members find themselves inundated with the responsibility of finding new leadership on an emergency basis (the word "volunteer" has a hollow ring at these times) and credit unions often make poor choices with long-term consequences under these pressures. Succession planning can offer a great opportunity to shape the future and foster leadership, so the lack of planning squanders this prospect.

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive