Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Today I learned a new term: succession planning. Apparently, this is a phrase people in the business world know, but I bet I'm not the only educator who's never heard it before. As teachers, we don't usually have a successor. The classroom is not usually much of a breeding ground for bureaucracy, after all.
While the ESD where I work isn't much of bureaucracy either, we do have important leadership positions. People have been committed to those positions for a long time, which speaks to the vision and culture within the agency, but soon our superintendent, the leader who's responsible for much of that vision and culture, will be retiring. Succession planning is what organizations do to figure out how to fill shoes like that.
This got me thinking about succession planning in other parts of life. We love our dog, but we've already begun looking at other breeds that might be suitable for our family after our dog passes on. I have plans for storage of keepsakes down in the basement because I know, at some point, I'll want them off the shelves but not in the garbage. How will I pass my work on to someone else if I move to a different position or back to the classroom? Even my spring bulb bed was planted with succession planning in mind. The crocuses are in front then the daffodils then the tulips then irises and dahlias. So, as the early blooms in front die off, the next ones come right up behind them. I like the idea of being prepared and having a plan in place for when things turn over, but I have to wonder where the balance lies between future planning and present living. How much energy do we spend on succession planning before it becomes a fixation that distracts from things that are happening right now?