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In a recent article for Independent Banker, Elizabeth Judd explains that “succession planning is about more than a change in leadership. It can be a sterling opportunity to look anew at your community bank’s strategic direction.” She goes on to offer guidance for banks on how to approach the task of planning for succession.

Broaching the subject is a key step, especially as more and more CEOs tend towards pushing off retirement, working well into their 70s. While discussing retirement can be a touchy subject for the board of directors to raise, it is a crucial step that must be taken. In addition to this, rather than being afraid of the different perspective that a new CEO might bring to the table, the board should approach it as an exciting opportunity to rethink entrenched practices. Forward-thinking banks should develop a strategic plan for when a new CEO arrives.

Succession changes are daunting tasks! Consider engaging the services of a consultant in order to smooth the transition. Firms can assess your bank’s strengths and weaknesses, offering advice on potential steps for improvement. Whether your bank plans to stay on its current course with a new CEO or take a turn in a new strategic direction, it is key that the board of directors and senior members of leadership have in place a solid succession plan.

The author concludes by offering five hallmarks of a truly strategic succession plan:

  1. It’s well-timed.
  2. It’s communicated clearly and thoroughly.
  3. The board is on board.
  4. The strategic plan is flexible.
  5. The new CEO gets respect.

For more details, read the article in full at Independent Banker.