As a board member, planning for your association's future is an essential part of your role. Creating a succession plan is a great way to prepare future leaders and set your community up for long-term success. Read on to learn more about succession plans and why your board of directors should have one in place.
What is Succession Planning?
Succession planning is the process used to ensure an organization is ready for the future. When a transition or significant change occurs, new leaders can reference the succession plan and find everything they need to maintain smooth operations, continue ongoing projects, and stay on track with goals. While every association is different, a good succession plan should summarize the previous board’s work, inform about the current state, and include the following:
- Agenda logs
- Major contract summaries
- The current strategic plan
- Examples of the operational structure
- Reserve summaries
- Up-to-date cash flow analysis
- Investment fund summaries
- Recent financial statements
- Advisory committee charters and liaison responsibilities
- Annual calendar
- Board member role & responsibility details
- Governing documents summary
- Current and previous year’s budget
- Overview of any pending projects
- Overview of any pending litigation
- Confidentiality notices
- Board member email accounts
- Recent general manager reports
Benefits of Succession Planning
Succession plans exist for the overall betterment of the community. The transition from one board to the next comes with challenges, but a succession plan reduces the learning and education period, clarifies expectations, and gives new board members the tools they need to lead their community with confidence. If done correctly, a well-organized plan allows the new board to move forward more easily and quickly.
Tips for Succession Planning
Preparing your community for what’s to come is a big responsibility that shouldn’t get taken lightly. The following are a few helpful tips to consider when creating a succession plan and passing the torch to new leaders:
1. Work together.
Teamwork and collaboration are crucial when it comes to succession planning. The new board members should work in conjunction with previous board members to ensure all information and assets are up to date and accurate.
2. Maintain good relationships.
If you’re a new board member, be sure to maintain a good relationship with former board members. The historical knowledge they have is invaluable, and knowing they’re right down the street or a phone call away if you have a question or need advice can be reassuring.
3. Consult your community association manager.
While previous board members may have specific knowledge about your community, your community association manager (CAM) likely has the experience to offer advice and best practices to make the process as seamless as possible. Your CAM should hold a transition meeting between old board members and new, and your management company should help prepare the plan and be an integral part of updating and assisting in the transition.
COVID-19 & Succession Planning
The ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 comes with many unique challenges for community association boards. Navigating the uncertainty is tough, but having a strong succession plan can alleviate some stress and make it easier to transition when the unexpected occurs. To learn more about preparing for the future and maintaining operations amid the pandemic, check out our ebook, “How to Navigate Ongoing Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”