Continuity and Handing Over
Success = Succession
All too often in Jewish student organisations, a very strong leader makes absolutely no attempt to ensure that their successor is capable of carrying on the good work. This means that what is built one year is destroyed the next. No progress is made. Long term improvements are impossible. A year of good quality hard work is wasted, because not enough attention was paid to the question of succession.
Identifying possible successors
Leadership depends upon leaders. Which means that your success depends upon the quality of the leader who follows you. For this reason, the first thing to do to ensure success is to identify possible successors. This should be done early - perhaps when you are only a third of the way through your term of office. Remember that you don't choose your successor, neither should you. What you need to do is to look at your organisation and think about who could take over from you. Your successor doesn't have to be the same as you, nor do they have to be as good as you. Also see Nuturing Future Leaders p86.
What is handover?
Handover is the process of transferring a job from one person to another. Usually responsibility for handing over successfully falls upon the person doing a job - they need to hand over (the torch, or the baton) to the person who is taking over from them. Handover means ensuring that your successor is able to do the job. If handover is done properly, it can allow your successor to 'hit the ground running' - to get off to a good start, and get a lot of work done.
Practically, handover should really consist of three phases. The first phase is involving and preparing, which should start when your successor is chosen, and continue up until just before you are due to leave your post, and involve a low level of contact. The second phase is the active handover phase, when you are your successor should spend a lot of time with each other talking about stuff. The third phase is the being available stage, where you have to be there for your successor.
If you disguise your own opinion on a subject as fact, you will prevent your successor from being able to decide how to do things. If you present your own wildest fantasies as realistic, your successor will have a hard time making sensible decisions about things. You need to be prepared for questions when handing over. This is an important part of allowing your successor to start thinking and acting for themselves. It is possible that some questions could be seen as overly critical. Don't let this get to you; for the good of the organisation it is important that you accept that your successor might not do everything the same way that you did.
Handing over - What to include in each stage
Involving and Preparing
This is done informally, through discussion, e-mail, and spending bits of time together from time to time. The incoming person should:
This is done in a planned way, face to face over a short but concentrated period of time. Think about direction of organisation.
This is informal. It involves the outgoing person making themselves available to answer questions.
The BIG Information Transfer
Make sure that the following records are organized in an orderly fashion and given to new officers and your advisors; Constitution and by-laws, University policies, Minutes from previous meetings, Financial records and commitments, Conference materials, General leadership tips, Keys, codes and important phone numbers, Past contributions from programming brainstorming sessions.
Possible ideas for how to handover most effectively