Succession Planning

Succession planning is the process of identifying and proactively developing talent within an organization to ensure that an employee is ready to fill a key role within the organization when that role becomes vacant.  In succession planning the Ashley|Rountree consultant prepares the individual so that he or she will capable of replacing a departing incumbent, usually in a more senior level position. 

The unique succession planning approach that Ashley|Rountree has developed over the years relies on establishing a deep knowledge of the organization, its mission, vision, values and plans for the future.  Only by working to understand the plans and aspirations for the organization can you determine what the goals and expectations of any key position will be in the future.  We develop leaders for the future needs of the organization. 

The deep understanding of the organization, the focus on what the role will become and the stakeholder involvement differentiates the Ashley|Rountree process from others.

Although sessions vary based on the capabilities of the person and the position for which they are preparing, the Ashley|Rountree consultant usually contracts with the client for periods of 3, 6 or 12 months prior to departure.

Although individual succession planning cases are treated as confidential information and therefore are not openly shared, summary data can be shared.  Ashley|Rountree consultants have:

  • worked with numerous human service organizations, educational institutions, faith-based organizations and foundations.
  • prepared professions for roles such as Executive Director, CEO, COO, Dean, Director of Development and Manager (of specific areas)
  • collaboratively established development goals that included demonstrating emotional intelligence, broadening a knowledge of fundraising, developing financial acumen, improving public speaking skills and developing a professional network. 
  • helped participants achieve their goals by attending certification courses, one-on-one meetings with Ashley|Rountree subject matter experts, joining civic groups and attending sponsored events, participating in on-line webinars, re-enrolling and completing the final coursework for an MBA and through online research and reading.

Success Stories

Cabbage Patch Settlement House

After more than three decades of leadership, the Executive Director of Cabbage Patch Settlement House announced his intention to retire, leading the Board to consider succession planning–for only the third time in Cabbage Patch’s 100-plus year history. All of this was happening within the context of a major campaign with a focus on growing the endowment for this organization that has always prided itself on supporting itself with 100% private gifts and investment earnings.

How We Helped
Knowing that the culture of “The Patch” was one of careful planning and discernment, Ashley|Rountree consultants devised a 24-month process of succession planning followed by a national search. First, Ashley|Rountree consultants facilitated monthly meetings with representatives of the Board (current and former) along with staff leaders worked to assess the current state of Cabbage Patch and its needs for a next leader, informed by confidential interviews with a dozen top donors, to be followed by a search that was informed by that plan, also led by Ashley|Rountree’s search team.

The succession plan was unanimously approved by the Board of Cabbage Patch, which served as the foundation for efforts to a 10-month national search that was successful in hiring the next Executive Director. He and his predecessor were able to enjoy an overlap of four months in order to better introduce the new leader to longtime donors and provide continuity of change.