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Leadership Succession

Posted By Drumm McNaughton FIMC, Saturday, September 26, 2009

We all know from our clients' businesses how important succession planning is. But do we value and/or apply it in IMC at the national and chapter levels?

I believe we do a good job of succession planning at the National level and at many of the Chapters. However, there are a number of Chapters who do not, and inevitably it leads to last minute scrambling to find their next President.

Here is the National process for succession planning. Each year the Nominating Committee is seated in November to begin the selection process for the IMC Board of Directors. However, this is part of the process that we have in place which is that the Committee:

  • Keeps records of potential Board candidates,
  • Solicits candidates for membership,
  • Discusses potential candidates’ skills and qualifications,
  • Interviews candidates to ensure their commitment, leadership abilities, and technical skills are a good fit for Institute’s strategic direction and tactical needs, and
  • Names the slate of directors to fill open Board seats.

There are other things which go into selecting future Board members and Officers that fall under the title of strategic management.

  • Each year, the Operating Committee (OpComm) meets midyear to review and update the Institute's strategic plan, and as part of that process discusses where the Institute is going and what talent is needed on the Board to be effective and to serve members and the profession.
  • Throughout the year, the Chair, Executive Director, and the Chairs of the CPC and the Nominating Committee keep an eye out for potential members to serve at the National level.
  • We also discuss the skills necessary for board members to grow, and we work with them to improve their skills.

There are a number of chapters who use similar processes; NorCal and NE are two that come to mind. However, there are a number of chapters who do not use formal succession planning procedures and inevitably they come up to the end of the current chapter president’s term and are scrambling to find a successor.

One of the best examples of how to do this right is the New England Chapter. They use a tripartite model for governance where the President elect, President, and Immediate Past President form a three-person governing body to perform the necessary work of running the chapter. Candidates for the President elect are identified 2-3 years prior to their assuming the position, and are given positions of increasing responsibility to ensure they have the requisite skills and abilities to assume the role of president.

Chapters are one way to “become famous” for your contributions and work for IMC (which is important when aspiring to serving at the National level), but what about those members who are not affiliated with Chapters, i.e., At-Large members?

For At-Large members, I suggest getting involved with IMC’s various Committees. We always need people to help us on our committees; these include marketing and branding, member recruiting and retention, sponsorship, corporate relations, certification, ethics, and other various committees. If you are interested, please contact Gail McCauley ( at the National office.

Leader succession is critical for maintaining the health of chapters, or primary point for delivering member value. If you have questions on how we do leadership succession at the national level, or how to implement good succession planning, contact me, Judith Light CMC FIMC, (Nominating Committee Chair), or Loraine Huchler CMC PE (Chair of Chapter Presidents Council).

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