Página de libro

WAGGGS Succession Planning Model

WAGGGS Succession Planning Model

WAGGGS Succession Planning Model

Succession planning is not an exact science. There simply isn’t one approach that’s right for every situation. Each organization will need to decide on the best way to ensure that there are enough  skilled people to lead and manage its business and move the whole organization forward.

Refer to diagram in original PDF

This section offers suggestions for your organization to build and maintain an effective succession planning strategy. You can adapt and adjust – and add existing elements from your organization’s traditions and constitution.

WAGGGS has developed a Succession Planning Model drawn from the experiences and research gathered over the years. The model uses the metaphor of seven cogwheels that are linked with one central wheel (a ‘Succession Plan Strategy’) and six surrounding wheels (the elements that make the succession plan work). The three layers in the model represent the three different levels within WAGGGS: National Member Organizations, the five WAGGGS Regions and committees, and the whole WAGGGS structure.

Each wheel represents an element of succession planning:

  1. Vision and strategy
  2. Defining key issues, needs, and possible gaps
  3. Recruiting talent
  4. Training and developing talent
  5. Hand-over process – monitoring and appraisal
  6. Revising the Succession Strategy, and repositioning talent for new challenges

For each element, there is a procedure recommendation and some human resource considerations to be addressed.

The model builds upon recommended methods for succession planning and covers the planning, implementation, evaluation and revision of the succession strategy.

Refer to diagram in original PDF

These six wheels will be explained in the next sections.


A machinery with cogwheels is an internally supportive system

  • All surrounding wheels help ease the other’s work, as well as drive the big wheel
  • If one of the surrounding wheels slows down or stops, it does not necessarily stop the whole process, only prevents full speed
  • If one wheel is trying to go in the opposite direction, this will be prevented by the other wheels which will have to work harder
  • Full speed is achieved when all wheels work together in harmony



2    Defining key issues, needs and possible gaps


Once you’ve decided on your organization’s key strategic goals, you can define the competences and resources needed within and outside the organization.


Leadership skills


The goal of succession planning is to bring in the right leaders at the right time.


You will find that you will need people with different qualifications, skills and personalities at different stages of future development. There is a lot of documentation on how organizations can identify the right type of person to fit the organization at specific moments in its growth. Here are a few examples of the different types of people you might need at various stages:



Key Leadership Factors

Rapid Growth

• Sees alternatives

• Embraces change

• Communicates vision effectively

• Identifies and uses talent

• Delegates authority


• Short-term focus with long-term awareness

• Stands ground

• Clear and concise communicator

• Motivates people

• Generates solid team

Dynamic Environment

• Excellent knowledge of broad environment

• Able to think out-of-the box

• Comfortable with ambiguity

• Passion for change

• Creates sense of urgency

• Motivates others

Decreasing Membership

• Positive attitude

• Motivates people to see opportunities rather than threats

• Creative

• Able to think out-of-the-box

• Enthusiastic


Establish a Timetable


It is important in succession planning to set up a chart that shows the current key positions and when each term finishes. This is the most transparent way of showing people the leadership needs of the organization. A tool such as a Gantt chart can be useful in this exercise.


It is a useful tool for planning and scheduling tasks and projects.


By using a Gantt chart, the organization can highlight key positions, the length of the term and when these positions need to be filled.


This timetable can help motivate your successor to move through their training program quickly and successfully, with a clear understanding of what the coming roles and responsibilities are going to be for the day-to-day operations.


A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of the duration of tasks against the progression of time. The chart is named after Henry Gantt (1861–1919), who designed his chart around the years 1910–1915.


Discussion Point


Think about what skills are needed from leaders during times of:

• Rapid growth
• Change
• Dynamic environment
• Decreasing membership


Below is an example of a two-year Gantt Plan for key roles in an organization:


Colour code:

Red: Elected at the assembly
Blue: Appointed by the board
Green: Position applied and occupied by approval of the board
Black: Constitutional



A timetable is an easy way of visualising flow as well as spotting gaps in positions and activities. It also marks low activity periods – such as when elections are going on, and new boards are settling. This will allow the organisation to plan in advance and make sure there are activities ongoing to keep the organization alive.


3   Recruiting talents and successors




To recruit new members and leaders


  • Identify roles in advance
  • Identify needs and qualities
  • Identify suitable candidates


There will always be people moving on to new pastures, looking for new challenges and inspiration. Organizations are always changing and they need new ideas, new perspectives and new approaches.


The challenge for each organization is to ensure that there are enough skilled people available to take the organization where it needs to be in order to achieve its vision.


Sourcing talent


All people have competences, potential and talent that can be used to enrich the organization. But where can you find the right people with the talent to serve in the different committees and task groups?


Here are a few examples of where you can potentially source talent:


  • Government agencies, non-governmental organizations or foundations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Business communities
  • Recommendations from key leaders
  • Community leaders
  • Parents and other social networks within communities
  • “Skill bank” of young women who have had significant leadership experience within your organization


When looking for new volunteers or members consider:


  • Does the person have to be a member of the association? Or could you benefit from an external person in the position?
  • Would you advertise for or announce the position? Or will you only find people within your networks?




Approaching new volunteers


Research on recruiting volunteers shows that most people like to be asked rather than apply for positions themselves. This means that you should ask anyone who could potentially bring the skills you need, even if you think they wouldn’t have the time. Maybe they are not motivated right now, but your offer is a great way to build relationships with potential volunteers for the future.


Invite potential talents to participate in national and / or international leadership development programmes. Taking part in a formal or non-formal organized leadership development programme can be invaluable. As well as great learning forums, they can be an opportunity for peers to network and share knowledge. A warm welcome in the organization can give a participant confidence to consider future roles and expand their networking if they do so.


Discussion/Reflection Point


Consider positions you have had in your association, in other volunteer organizations, or in your professional life. Which of these positions have been – in your opinion:


  • Too long
  • Too short
  • Balanced


Consider the implications of each of the categories – the implications to:


  • Yourself
  • Your friends and families
  • The organization
  • The successor when you left


Finally, do the same reflection exercise about


  • Positions where you were the successor – how was the previous position holder behaving and what were the results of this behaviour?


How do we build a rich-talent organization?


The ultimate goal of succession planning is to have a ‘growing pool’ of talent that can be tapped by the organization at different times of its life cycle.


You can develop existing talent in your organization by:


  • Writing job descriptions and development plans for critical positions
  • Mentoring and coaching development programmes
  • Providing training programmes for:
    • Individuals new to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting
    • Individuals taking on new responsibilities
    • A leadership team facing change
    • Real experiences (learning by doing)


You can reward talent by:


  • Honouring the contribution of past leaders
  • Providing services that lighten the burden of leadership (e.g. childcare, job share and arranging meetings at times that suit people
  • Creating opportunities to broaden the individual’s experience and perspectives
  • Giving tangible yet appropriate rewards


Top leadership is responsible for developing and encouraging a talent-rich organization


The value of succession plans is only realized through consistent implementation and commitment to leadership development. To ensure you have a strong, growing talent pool, you need to regard the retention of your potential leaders for key roles as a core responsibility within your organization.


Discussion/Reflection Point


Talent Development


In what ways does your organization


  • Source talent?
  • Develop talent?
  • Reward talent?
  • Register talent?
  • Appreciate and keep contact with talented people?




Write down 10 names of people who are not presently involved in your association or group and who could be either involved or supportive in your search for new talent.


Ask these 10 people to do the same, and repeat this once more.


In only three stages of networking, up to 1000 people have been contacted.


Discuss the benefits of networking. People say that if we contact our personal network and ask each of them to do the same, and again, in eight steps we would reach the whole world. And WAGGGS provides a readily available global network of people all involved in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.


Did you know


… a personal thank you in some cultures is worth much more than a visible medal?




Use this exercise to decide how key roles should be managed and recruited.


  1. For each of your main areas of responsibility related to your objectives and goals – decide which of the positions should be covered by:
  • People elected by the members or leaders in the association
  • People appointed by the board
  • People who apply and get approved by the board
  • Positions filled in by taking turns (randomly)
  • People who offer themselves for volunteering
  1. Next, consider the terms and time periods for the key roles, and discuss if they could be overlapping or substituted when terms are ending.
  2. Finally, consider how you ensure that key roles are always covered. Is it through
  • Co-chairing a role
  • Prepared substitutes ready to take over
  • Overlapping take-over procedures with mentoring


Record an overview of the role


  • Think about the skills: « Must haves – Important – Nice-to-have »
  • Record how much time is involved


Check Points


Discuss how your organization


Appraises talents

Spots talent

Recruits leaders

Retains leaders when they want to leave their positions.

Makes sure there are as few gaps in positions as possible

Ensures continued activities over election and reorganizing periods



Everything is possible – if you wish

Positive thinking and optimism are good starting points when searching for new recruiting options.


Gaps in required competencies and talent


Competence gaps: During the above exercise, you may find that you are lacking some of the key competences and personnel needed to fulfil your goals. This could be an opportunity to search for people outside the organization or to arrange development opportunities within the organization.


Talent gaps: A talent gap would show that you have the experienced people who plan to (or according to your succession procedures should) resign shortly but not the people who could succeed the position in question. One approach could be to arrange a group of potential successors to be mentored by the resigning person.


Human resource gaps: Also, as you develop your strategy and your organizational operational plan, you may find that you need to develop or introduce new activities or technologies in your association. You may not have the competencies needed to lead on these new activities or technologies.


You will need to describe both the activity/technology and your proposal for needed competences, and create a plan for gaining the resources.


The gaps occurring should be addressed and noted in your succession planning. The gaps can provide an opportunity to be creative and think about doing things differently.


Discussion/Reflection Point


Successors – like those before or different?


Discuss how you would like your successors to be – like the ones they are taking over from, or someone with different ideas and talents able to take the group in a new direction?


  • Believe in the positive potential in everyone
  • Do not ignore shy, quiet people – they may have hidden potential and talents
  • Do not say ‘no’ on somebody else’s behalf – maybe she has been waiting for your invitation to join a group or position
  • Reduce any barriers that impact on an individual’s ability to make a meaningful contribution
  • Provide a supportive environment for people to grow and develop


Choosing a successor


You have a talent pool of potential successors for a key position, but how do you choose a successor? How do you ensure that the right person is elected to the right position?


You will need to think about anyone who potentially has the skill and ability to lead a group, a project, or a task. If you have difficulty narrowing the field, you may want to seek the advice of your board, or put together a ‘search committee’ to help you select a successor. These two approaches will enable you to seek the opinions and advice of others when making your decision.


It is not good practice for individuals to personally choose their successor. The accepted procedure is to elect people to the different positions (and in some special cases, appoint). This process gives people the authority and accountability and credibility to serve in the new position


What are the barriers to developing/recruiting leaders?


  • We think no one else can do what we can do
  • We presume people do not have enough time to take on new jobs or that they are not interested
  • The job may require too much time for anyone to do it
  • We make assumptions about what people are interested in doing and what they are prepared to offer
  • We have not clearly defined the needs of the role
  • We are not clear about the person profile and therefore do not find the right person
  • We frighten people by describing jobs that appear to be too large
  • Expectations may not be clear, either on the side of the organization or the volunteer
  • We do not have a plan that tells us when we will need a new person for a specific job
  • We are too busy to plan for the next stage
  • We have no procedures to support people


Barriers to potential leaders





Process of recruitment for a board member


Election procedure


  • In March, but functions start in September
  • Six-month period of joint work where new team shadows the old in the day-to-day life
  • Terms do not start and end at the same time so everybody doesn’t leave at the same time


Resource people


  • When needed, a mentor or external help can be appointed to support a new member (could be the previous holder of the function)
    • Clear mission and length of term of office


A day in a life of a board member


Sometime before the deadline for appointing candidates for a board, the existing board can invite potential candidates to ‘open meetings’ so candidates can observe some board meetings. The potential candidates can also be invited to shadow a board member for a period of time if this is realistic for the organization.




When choosing a candidate for any position, consider the following


  • Leadership qualities
  • Personality
  • Visionary
  • Ability to gain respect of others
  • Belief in mission and values of organization
  • Respect and trust from others
  • Specific skills (e.g., training, program development, strategic planning, marketing)
  • Look inside and outside of organization
  • Identify more than one person for any one role




When making election procedures for leaders and board or committee members, it is useful to consider


  • Whether all members should be elected at each election time, or half of the members are to be elected at each election time, with two overlapping periods;
  • Whether substitutes are being kept informed so they are ready to take over vacant positions. This could be done by:
    • Giving them meeting minutes and agendas;
    • Asking them to take part in meetings without decision making;
    • Giving them the opportunity to shadow a board member in the meetings leading up to her time of taking over.


Overlapping makes the organization stronger


Suggestions for putting together a Recruitment Plan


Recruitment procedure


  • Create a guideline for recruitment of specific functions
  • Profile, Where to find, when to contact


Job description and person specification


  • Split into: Essential – Desirable - nice-to-have – personal initiatives
  • Main responsibilities
  • Time involved


Tools and resources


  • Use Guide of adult resources
  • Explain main challenges they can expect
  • How to work with the resources
  • Where to find the information


Example of Succession Planning Strategy & Experiences, Guidisme et Scoutisme En Belgique


Check Points


How many board members are sufficient – minimum and maximum?

How many substitutes should be ready for an election period?

How long should an election term be? 1 – 2- 3 – 4 – more years?

Should a person be elected for 1 or more terms, with half or a part of the committee/ board elected at each election?

How many times should it be possible to re-elect a person?

Is there any difference in the maximum length of a position period according to volunteer or paid positions?

For employed staff care should be taken to respect the employment laws

Who is responsible for sufficient candidates before an election?


4    Training talent and successors


To develop a successful training program for a successor, you will need to identify the critical functions of the group and task.


Ask Yourself:


  • What is the task that needs to be done?
  • Who are the best people to do this - what skills are needed?
  • How long will it take?
  • What is the desired end result?
  • Who will benefit?


Training and development can be approached in a number of ways, i.e., through:


  • A Mentoring / buddy system
  • Aligning development plans with written job descriptions for critical positions
  • Developing training programmes for
    • Individuals new to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting
    • Individuals with new responsibilities
    • Young women with leadership potential


It is a good idea to have your successor work in each of the key areas of the task. Immerse your successor in the position so she sees both the depth and breadth of the operation. This may sound simple enough, but there is a certain amount of ‘letting go’ that goes along with inducting your successor by allowing them to learn, grow and make mistakes before assuming the helm.


By giving the successor the opportunity to question the present procedures, you are giving them space for creative thinking and new perspectives. This process will help the new person to assume ownership of the new role.


Identify role in advance
Identify needs and qualities
Identify suitable candidates
Nurture Talent


The right person is identified – then what?




Provide opportunity and time for the following:


  • The mutual exchange of expectations
  • Consult on major decisions
  • Allow person to be an observer at major meetings
  • Opportunity to work on their own
  • Support their decisions and provide constructive feedback
  • Provide training as appropriate (identify skills required for the role and facilitate the training of these where necessary)


Taking on a leadership role


Here are some steps that you could take to ensure new leaders have all the support and information they need when starting a role.


Recording experiences of new leadership role


Personally, recording what they’ve learned from their experiences and how they overcame challenges can be valuable for both departing - and new leaders – and so that successors can learn from this experience. This documenting of information and its’ value to the organization is covered in more detail later in this section under knowledge management.


Areas to document include:


  • The tasks and challenges of the leadership role
  • What you have learned
  • H ow you do things
  • What could be improved
  • Your questions and challenges to the status quo




In writing them down think about how you would explain your role and those challenges to somebody who takes on this position in the future.




Elected successors can shadow the previous position holder for a period of time to learn from their experience.




In the African Region, Board Members are elected six months to one year before they actually take over the position. In that period they follow and shadow another working Board Member to be ready to take over.




An experienced leader’s role is to support the successor in her first period of leadership. In the case of Board Members, the resigning


Board Member is proposed as a mentor for the successor to ensure continuing work. The mentor supports the new leader in their development in a supportive and constructive way.




In Europe Region, some of the newer associations from Central and Eastern Europe have been mentored by the more experienced associations. This is done via board-to-board or Commissioner-to-Commissioner relationships. The more experienced associations have also learned something about organization, membership and leadership by being questioned on their habits and traditional structure.


Another example of mentorship in Europe includes the handover process of International Commissioners (IC), where the newly appointed IC’s are mentored by a more experienced IC.




A coach can be offered as a development and support mechanism.


Their role can be to help motivate and guide the new person and provide a space for them to share and reflect on their tasks and procedures as well as their experiences and any challenges or anxieties.




A group of talented people who are appointed can be offered courses focused on developing their talents. This will ease their entry into the new leadership position. Once they have started this role, this initial training should be followed up by a tailor-made training on the specific tasks associated to their position.


Job share


In this situation, two or more people share a position and the tasks so that they can easily take over for each other during leave or when one person leaves.




In this situation, two people carry out a task or hold a position together. This allows for a more well-rounded perspective on events and diversity in activities. This method of sharing responsibilities is another way of ensuring effective succession planning.




Networking between peer leader positions provides an opportunity to share and learn from each other – and support each other.


National, regional and world events offer opportunities, space and time for this networking to take place.




Very often when committees or project groups have finished their tasks, the group members keep in touch and keep each other updated on what is going on. These networks are a valuable commodity, as they can be contacted in the future for advice on new tasks too.


5    The handing-over process


Succession planning is like a relay race…


The relay runners form a team where one runner hands over the baton to the next runner. A good performance requires all runners at the end of their turn to keep up the speed until the baton is handed over, and all runners starting their turn have to start before they are met, and to be on speed when handed over the baton.


A well thought out and supportive handover process is vital for a smooth transition from the existing to the new leader. The next session looks at some of the areas you will need to cover when planning the handover:


  • On the job training
  • Support for successor
  • The exit strategy
  • Knowledge management


On-the job training


On the job training means that the retiring person can hand over the task in an accessible and informative way, introducing the successor to the role, the responsibilities, new colleagues and the existing systems and procedures. On the job training can be supported with seminars and courses but the ‘learning by doing’ is an essential part of the process.


Support for successor


Once your successor has settled into their new position, you will need to be prepared to let the successor carry out the role for which she has been trained. You can lay the groundwork, provide the training and establish an organizational culture that reflects the values of your association for the successor. From there, the senior management and board members are the monitoring and support system for the successor and for the organization. This means preparing to step back for the person retiring.


The ‘exit strategy’ – Leaving the stage for the successor to take over the role



The table helps us to understand the increasing awareness and responsibility of those involved in succession planning. At the beginning, the person currently holding the position has responsibility for the majority of the work and as time passes, the responsibility is handed over to the next person.


Planning how long you are going to stay in a position is one thing, but preparing yourself for handing over the tasks in a useful way is even more important. The easiest way to prepare this is to document what you are learning yourself while in your position. It is also important to outline a plan for the transition which can be referred to throughout the handover process.


When the successor is in post, it can be tempting to compare them with others. Remember that each person has their own unique style, which will bring different qualities and talents to the organization.


Knowledge management


The capturing of organizational information and knowledge held by an individual is an essential part of the handing over process.


This is often referred to as knowledge management.


Documenting procedures, practices, learning and insights is a good way of securing the accumulated knowledge within your association.




Knowledge Management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice.


Did you know…


In his book ‘Succession. Are you Ready’ (2009) the author Marshall Goldsmith describes how popular network meetings with former business Chief Executives, amongst these Frances Hesselbein, the ex-CEO of Girls Scouts of the USA were motivating for others to take up volunteer roles and charity tasks when retiring from their paid jobs of a different kind.


Frances Hesselbein founded, and is now chairman of, the Leader-to-Leader Institute.


Some emotional reactions to the handing over process


“From being busy with many tasks as a specialist → stepping backwards and listening/observing as a mentor”


Handing over the baton means giving up power – and to some people this can be a relief and to others, a loss of power feels like stumbling, falling – and not being able to rise up again. Losing power can also mean having little or no influence on matters related to the organization.


However, the opportunity to impact on other peoples’ lives is something that does not necessarily decrease, especially if you maintain your relationships and the networks created, and make constructive contributions to the community around you.


The emotions for people leaving positions should not be overlooked or minimized – a way of helping the retiring person is to let them express their emotions in a supportive and confidential place with people who understand what they are going through.


  • Coaching can also be a tool which provides a personal space to understand and come to terms with the mixed feelings they may have about leaving.
  • Plan to include them in an (already) established network of ‘retired’ people; this gives the person an ‘exclusive club’ to look forward to. In the future they can be a valuable resource as:
    • Consultants
    • Mentors
    • Substitutes representing busy present members
    • Starters of new projects
    • Ambassadors for your association


If there are any negative feelings, try to sort them out internally and do not allow misunderstandings to damage the image of the association, or the person. People should leave an organization with a sense of accomplishment, fulfilment and that they have been part of something that has affected positive change.




Handing over offers a good opportunity to reflect on information and categorise under:


  • ‘Must know’
  • ‘Need to know’
  • ‘Nice to know’


Discussion/Reflection Point


Think of a particular procedure or practice in your organization. How would you transfer the knowledge associated with it to someone new taking over? Use the following questions / categories to guide your discussions.


  • What is most important – should be shared in all key positions (‘must know’)
  • What is very important for many people – should be accessible for a defined group (‘need to know’)
  • What should be revised according to new procedures (‘need to know’)
  • What should be updated with new names and contacts
  • What may be important and could be filed away (‘nice to have’)
  • What is important to have at the back of your mind when moving on (‘nice to know’)
  • What is no longer durable and valid – and should be deleted


Check Points


Does your organization


Arrange networks for those leaving their positions?

Arrange for handover meetings?

Appoint the leaving person as a mentor or ambassador?

Make and continue contact with people who have left?

Have important information and knowledge documented?


6   Revision of the Succession Strategy


A good succession strategy is revised regularly and plans are adjusted in line with:


  • The vision and new prioritization of goals (keep in mind human resource needs may have also changed)
  • Talents that have been developed, moved up or left the association
  • Talents that were meant for one position, but might have taken up another task
  • New talents and areas of interest that may have developed
  • Projects that are delayed, postponed, cancelled, or are being developed


When defining, describing, and revising your strategic documents try to be critical and imagine your organisation in three, five and then ten-years’ time. Is the succession strategy still relevant, or does it need some changes, either now or in the future? If in the future, set a new revised date.


Along with the revision of the strategy and any adjustment of the timetable, all resources involved in the revision should be contacted.


“In this race, you - as the baton carrier – need to balance two priorities that often… conflict with each other. On one hand you need to produce short-term results, On the other hand, you need to do what is in the best long-term interest of your organization.”

Marshall Goldsmith

Succession. Are you Ready? (2009)


Check Points


Think of three different position changes in your association, tell the stories and discuss


What was successful in each situation?

What were the actions and conditions that formed this success?

What would you like to register as a rule or principle of your association’s succession strategy?

Did the changes require a revision of the constitutions and byelaws?





WAGGGS model of succession planning is based on a metaphor of seven cogwheels. The central wheel stands for a ‘Succession Plan Strategy’ and the six surrounding wheels below are the elements that make the succession plan work.


1 Vision and strategy

2 Defining key issues, needs, and possible gaps

3 Recruiting talent

4 Training and developing talent

5 Hand-over process – monitoring and appraisal

6 Revising the Succession Strategy, and repositioning talent for new challenges


We hope that the model provides a useful tool for thinking about and planning your organization’s succession strategy and plan. The goal is to ensure that all of the wheels are working in harmony together, at all times.