by Ashley Dumat, Rho Omicron (Middle Tennessee State U), International Vice President
Succession planning is one of the most important things an organization can do to help ensure its ongoing success; however, many people have never heard this term. So what does it mean? According to the Society for Human Resource Management, succession planning is “a focused process for keeping talent in the pipeline. It is generally a 12- to 36-month process of preparation, not pre-selection.” It is focusing on the future of your organization by identifying and cultivating those who may fill leadership roles down the road.
How can succession planning help our Fraternity? Well, think about your current role. You may be a collegiate chapter leader, an alumnae chapter leader, or an international volunteer. When your time is finished in your current role, do you know of someone who could be a great successor? What about the next person after that? Are there things these women could be doing right now to help prepare them for leadership roles? This is the essence of succession planning.
So, how will you know which sister may have great potential for a particular leadership role? The first step is to assess what knowledge and skills are needed, and then identify the woman or women who possess the knowledge and skills. Let’s look at a very easy example. Perhaps you are your collegiate chapter’s Director of Finance. A desirable area of knowledge for a person to fill this position would be someone who has experience with finance and working with budgets. At a collegiate chapter level, this may be a sister who is studying accounting or finance. Accounting and finance knowledge, skills, and abilities are a natural fit for a position that deals with the responsible stewardship and administration of money and budgets.
Identifying sisters who would be a great fit for future leadership positions in AOII is just one aspect of succession planning, though. It is also about providing them with resources and tools to help prepare them to assume new leadership roles in the future. Let a sister know you think she has potential in a particular leadership role — she may not have considered it before! Maybe she would be a great chapter president in a couple of years, but she knows she could benefit from holding another position for a year in order to learn and to grow her leadership skills. Getting a head start in developing leadership skills will help set up both her and the chapter for success.
\With thoughtful succession planning, we can ensure that our future AOII leaders have the best chance for success in their roles. Making sure we, as AOII members, continue to identify and cultivate these inspiring, ambitious women is crucial to the continued growth and success of the Fraternity.