This case study is presented as a guide to help Divisions
of Family Practice with their succession planning. Our appreciation goes
to Vantage Point for their input and assistance.
Succession planning helps organizations assess where they are going, identify the people they need to get there, and then plan for, recruit and develop their human resources based on a vision of the future.
In this case study we’ll look at the essential components of succession planning and break each one down into how-to tips.
A succession plan is more than a document that sits on a shelf. It is an ongoing commitment, usually with strong engagement and support of the senior leadership, to develop your people. It is an organizational culture that recognizes that this investment in individuals is for the good of the whole organization.
The __________ Division of Family Practice will be a full partner in the development and growth of the primary healthcare system in __________. Family physicians, patients and primary health care partners will all be able to see the benefits that the Division brings to _________.
The mission statement is more practical. It describes the fundamental purpose of the division and guides your overall aims and activities of the division. It is linked to the vision and values of the organization and is the starting point in developing a strategic plan.
A mission statement answers these questions:
- What is the division’s purpose? Who are we?
- What does the division do? Why are we doing it?
- What is our role?
The ________ Division of Family Practice is a non-profit society that is led by and for family physicians practicing in __________. The Division will work to:
- Improve patient care
- Increase family physicians’ influence on health care delivery and policy
- Provide professional satisfaction for physicians
The vertical dimension of this engagement pyramid represents the intensity of engagement, with light engagement at the bottom and high intensity, deep engagement at the top. Its horizontal dimension represents the number of people involved. Combine the two and you get a pyramid with lots of mildly engaged people at the base and a small number of deeply engaged people at the top.
As it relates to retention, it’s important to note that new members won’t suddenly jump from the very bottom of the pyramid to the very top. You must nurture the relationships with individuals and gradually move them up the rungs, increasing their commitment and involvement each step of the way.
Continually work to form relationships with new people. Learn their interests, skills and experience. Cultivate their engagement by creating opportunities for them to be more involved. To that end, it is effective to have a variety of volunteer roles that have varying commitment and time requirements.
Organizations that enjoy long-term, sustainable success aren’t just lucky. They plan for success by giving their people opportunities to learn and grow within the organization as outlined above. They also provide proper training, clarity of roles and responsibilities and transfer of knowledge to help leaders in their roles.
Information – including documents and contact information – from the following areas of your Division operations should be gathered and accessible for review at all times:
- Finances and payroll
- Human resources and membership
- Service contracts
- Authorizations and approvals
The inventory (see sample template in Appendix 1) should be completed and reviewed annually to make sure that in unplanned or planned transitions, organizational leadership has direct access to vital information necessary for making strategic leadership decisions.
Linking position roles to your mission statement can help candidates understand how they can contribute to the big picture. Role descriptions can also spell out time commitments and accountabilities, so people know what they are getting themselves into and what they will be responsible for.
Similarly, the board and any working group or committee of the board should be guided by clear terms of reference. These articulate the purpose, objective(s), and composition of the board or committee, as well as how often it will meet and to whom it is accountable. For example, is your board a working board or a governance board? This answer depends on the roles your directors play, and is likely based on where your division is in its evolution.
Templates for role descriptions and terms of reference can be found in the Governance Handbook (and link to it here).
Board support can take the form of any or all of the following:
- A board toolkit or handbook
- An orientation to the board & organization
- An opportunity to meet with other board members and/or staff
- A mentor within the organization – perhaps another director or former director
Recruiting involves identifying people with the skills, competencies and qualities your organization needs now and in the future. Remember, this doesn’t just mean bringing new people into the organization; it also means identifying those already within the division who have what you will need in the future and then developing them to move into leadership roles.
In order to determine the people the division needs, the board should ask itself:
There’s a right time to lead change. And, that time is now, and it starts with the Leadership and Management Development Program at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. The program is open to physicians who are already in a leadership role within their Division of Family Practice or are planning to be in a leadership role in the near future. >