As an industry, the topic of relevancy is not new. Community banks have long been struggling to be relevant, especially when it comes to technology and customers. But what about CEOs wrestling with relevancy?
Some have made utterance of this to me, others I feel demonstrate evidence of this feeling, but give it no voice. This fear is real. It must be expressed and kept in view of efforts for successful succession planning.
How do you set a plan that is relevant for your next leader as well as your current CEO? How do you ensure this highest most vital level of continuity?
In The Impact of a Lame-duck Leader, I touch upon the current CEO’s opportunity to train his/her successor when ideal circumstances prevail.
Scripted into the Transition
The relevancy of both leaders is very much so scripted into the transition, much like a relay, not a single leg beyond the first is completed minus the first step and momentum of the first runner. Each successive runner, while part of the larger team, still faces their own field of competition, just as each CEO inherits or discovers new challenges.
Relevancy is not missed when the transition is planned for and knowledge is paid forward (each runner knows if they’re positioned with a lead or needs to make up a gap).
This communication and sharing has to be listed among the expectations of the outgoing and incoming CEOs. For the outgoing, it sends the message that his/her leadership has a necessary hand in the bank’s future now. For the incoming, it creates the level of awareness needed to intercept the institution today.
Define Timeline Overlap
In the written plan, to ensure this is not missed, a clearly defined timeline of the overlap should be documented, outlining which responsibilities are assumed at which point and the roles of both leaders throughout.
Once the transition is complete, the plan must ensure the new CEO remains relevant to the institution. If facilitated correctly, relevancy will be intact. It will be clear organization-wide that he/she mirrors the strategic philosophies of the bank, was brought on board through a defined process and possesses the strengths to leverage present knowledge into future success.