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Taking Action: 10 Steps to Engaging Youth in Club Decision-Making
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Section 1: Introduction to Succession Planning
Section 2: The Succession Planning Process
Section 3: Crucial Ingredients for Steps 1-5
Step 1. Stop and Think
Step 2. Identify Barriers to Participation for Young People
Step 3. Decide How Your Club will Involve Young People in Decision-Making
Step 4. Form Community Partnerships
Step 5. Recruit Young People
Step 6. Induct Young People in to your Club General Induction Information
Step 7. Effectively Communicate with Young People
Step 8. Invest in Young People
Step 9. Mentor your Young Volunteers
Step 10. Recognise Volunteers and Thank Them for Their Work
Step 1: Examine your club’s position
Step 2: Identify skills required to fill critical roles in your club
Step 3: Assess the skills gap in your club and identify potential successors
Step 4: Develop and prepare potential successors
Step 5: Evaluate your succession plan



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Step 1: Examine your club’s position


To commence succession planning it is vital for you to understand exactly why your club needs a plan for the future and what you hope to get out of it. This involves clarifying your club’s current position to identify its needs for the future. More specifically, there are three stages to this first step. The first is to establish the club’s position and current needs, the second is to identify critical roles within the club that help the club address these needs and the third is to assess whether there any expected departures or vacancies in these roles.

a) Identify your club’s current and future needs

Consider your club in its current form. Think about the following three  areas: club management (the decision-making and administrative  processes in your club), club activity and club people. To help you  assess your club’s position in each category, click on the relevant link  below to view a list of questions that will start you thinking:

Some clubs may have already thought about these three areas and detailed their needs and objectives in a club strategic plan or discussed these questions at an AGM. If this is the case with your club, you should refer to your strategic plan to help you complete this first step.

For each club area (management, activity and people), answer the following three questions: 

  • What does your club do well? 
  • What have you realised your club needs?  
  • What changes do you want to see happen in the next five-10 years?

With these responses, complete the Club Position Worksheet

Thinking about this helps you to understand your club’s current position and why you are beginning to make a plan for succession. Succession planning is really about what you need to do now to ensure that your club meets its objectives in the future. This could involve making sure you continue to do the things you do well or deciding that you need to make changes.

If you would like to begin developing your succession plan, visit the Succession Plan Template and complete the Club Position section. Once you have completed that section, save the plan to your file and add information as you go.

b) Identify critical roles within club:

Once you have identified your club’s current position and needs, it is essential to identify the key roles within the club that will serve to address these needs now and into the future. That is, what do you see as the vital roles to your club’s success in the future?

Firstly, refer to your response for ‘what does your club do well?’ Who are the people in your club who contribute to this? What roles do they currently hold? Make a list of:

1. Roles in the club that contribute to the current success of your club. (Try to focus on the role/position and not the individual people in those positions).

Secondly, you must think about your response when you asked yourselves ‘what have you realised your club needs?’ Did you identify a need for greater membership numbers? Did you identify a need for better resources? Does your club need more money to function well? Do you have enough members but not enough volunteers? Think about the positions within your club at the moment that are responsible for addressing some of these needs. For example, perhaps your sponsorship coordinator is responsible for attracting more money to the club and could therefore address the need for more money coming in to the club. Make a list of the following:

2. Roles in the club that could address some of the things your club doesn’t have but needs.

Thirdly, you asked yourselves ‘what changes do you want to see happen in the next five-10 years?’ Perhaps you want to involve more young people. Consider which position in your club is responsible for youth engagement. Is it currently anybody’s responsibility or do you need to create a new position that addresses youth engagement? Make a list of the following:

3. Roles in the club that you might need in the future but don’t currently have.

Finally, think about whether there are any roles you have not covered but you think are critical to your club’s future. Make a list of the following:

4. Roles in the club that you just can’t do without.

It is important to realise that key positions in the club do not just mean the Club President or Treasurer. It could be the Volunteer Coordinator because recruiting, retaining and recognising volunteers are important to your club. It could be the Canteen Manager because increasing club revenue will be important over the next few years owing to higher costs of insurance. It could be an experienced referee, because they are ensuring a high level of adjudication which means games are more enjoyable for members. The point is to think broadly about what makes your club a success or what you could be doing better and need to work on. To record this information use, the Critical Position Worksheet.

You are now able to complete the Critical Roles/Positions in the Club section of your Succession Plan Template.

c) What vacancies are expected in these positions?

Once you have established the critical positions within the club, you need to assess (to the best of your ability) the risk of turnover in these positions in the near future. Who is retiring? Who is moving away? Who has been in the role too long and may be getting sick of the role? Make a list and rank the expected departure/vacancy of key positions as either ‘immediate’, ‘short term’ (in the next 12 months to two years) or ‘long term’ (in two years’ time and beyond).

The more you know about the timing of handover, the more prepared you can be to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible and that you have someone waiting in the wings to step into the role.  To record this information, use the Expected Vacancy Worksheet.

Once you have gone through the three stages of Step 1 you should  have recorded the following information:

  1. What your club does well, what your club needs to do better and what changes you would like to make in the future;
  2. The critical roles within your club that contribute to your club’s success now or in the future; and
  3. When you expect these key roles to become vacant.

You are now ready to complete the Expected Vacancies in Critical Roles section of your Succession Plan Template.