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Make Succession Planning a Board Priority

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

September 08, 2010
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Q. What are the board's roles and responsibilities when it comes to succession planning?  

A. The board has the "general direction and control of the affairs of the credit union" under the Federal Credit Union Act (see 12 U.S.C. Section 1761b). State acts have similar provisions. The board is charged with doing "all things necessary and proper to carry out the purposes and powers" of the credit union. This includes hiring and overseeing the CEO and setting policies to ensure smooth operations even during management transition.

Succession planning requires collaboration between the board and the paid management team. It also requires strategic planning and forecasting so that management needs are anticipated, leaders are groomed and mentored, and the right tools are in place to encourage the retention and attraction of talent (e.g., employment contracts, deferred compensation plans, etc.). The board must make it crystal clear that succession planning is a high priority item and ensure it happens. 

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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.

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