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Updated: Jun 6, 2023

From now through 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers each day will hit retirement age. And even though many Boomers aren’t retiring at 65, succession planning at companies and organizations across the nation is (or should be) top of mind.

Whenever we work with an organization that is about to go through a retirement or leadership transition, especially involving a long-time leader, there is one word that we stress … clarity. Above all else, it is absolutely critical that there be complete clarity—and agreement—among the Board of Directors, the outgoing CEO, and the incoming CEO.

Many important questions must be answered: What’s the timeline? Will the leaders overlap and, if so, for how long? What will be the ongoing role of the retiring leader, if any? What will be the reporting structure? Will they serve as emeritus… will they supervise the successor for a season? Or vice versa? Will the new leader be truly and fully empowered to lead, or will the outgoing leader continue to exercise undue influence behind the scenes?

All of these questions require a great deal of discussion, prayer, and perhaps some compromise, but it is absolutely critical that they be firmly decided before the new leader is hired, and that the board and the outgoing leader stick to the agreed-upon plan and timeline. Lingering disagreements, disunity, or a lack of follow-through are a recipe for disaster in transitions.


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