How do you replace yourself as a head of school?
If you want to do succession planning well, it starts years in advance. Here are the three steps I recommend for succession planning:
1. Find your replacement
Who is the person in your organisation who could one day replace you? Think carefully and think outside of the box.
- Who is humble, hungry and people smart?
- Who personifies the heart and DNA of your school?
- Who feels called to step into a head of school role?
2. Replace yourself
Replacing yourself starts with an intentional conversation with the person you think could one day replace you:
- share your personal vision and your vision for the school
- tell them the potential you see in them and what you think they could do in the future
- ask them about their personal vision or calling
- tell them you want to invest in them by inviting them to watch how you lead so you can discuss it together.
From here it’s about the gradual release of responsibility. There’s a famous leadership concept that breaks down effective delegation into four parts:
- I do, you watch
- I do, you help
- You do, I help
- You do, I watch
3. Help them replace themselves
Once you reach the third part (you do, I help) of the gradual release of responsibility, start coaching your replacement to do this whole process so they can replace themselves.
Sit down over a coffee with them as you hand over responsibility and ask them this question from step one above:
“Who is the person in your organisation who could one day replace you? Think carefully and think outside of the box.”
Rinse, repeat and you’ll have a succession plan in place for when you leave and a culture of leadership development as a bonus.