~ JANUARY 19, 2010 ~

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Hi. This is Carolyn Phillips,

and I've got with me Trish Redmon. We are very excited

that y'all are with us today.

We're going to be talking about a very, very

important subject, which is succession planning.

This is a topic that I care deeply about. I have

actually worried about this in many different areas of my

life for years.

I think that one of the best things we can do for

our programs to be sustainable -- and that's why it is a

key to sustainability -- is planning for the future and

planning for what happens whenever something changes.

Depending upon where you are in your leadership, you know,

figuring out who is going to replace you, who is going to

replace that technician and what have you.

Before we get too far along in this topic area, I

would love -- Caroline Van Howe is with us today.

And I would love it, Caroline, if you could just

give us a little tour of our system here.

CAROLINE VAN HOWE: Thank you, Carolyn and Trish.

I'd be happy to.

This is Caroline Van Howe with ATIA. Welcome to

the ATIA accessible webinar room and this Pass It On Center


A couple of things for those folks who aren't used

to the webinar room. This is an accessible webinar room,

which means that, if you are using a screen reader, you are

able to access everything in the webinar.

To configure your screen-reader software, please go

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And it's great to have so many folks on the webinar today.

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that dial set all the way onto the right-hand side for full

volume if you're having any problems with sound.

Once again, if you have any technical problems

throughout the webinar, I will post my telephone number and

e-mail, and I'd be happy to call you, or you can call me if

you experience any technical issues.

And just to remind you, we are recording this

webinar. And the recording will include the MP3 sound

file, the converted HTML slides that you're seeing right

now, as well as the information in the public-chat area.

I think that's everything about the accessible

webinar room.

Any questions? And I'll post my telephone number

in a few moments.

Thank you, Carolyn and Trish.

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Thank you, Caroline. We really

appreciate you joining us and walking us through those

important tips of how to navigate the webinar system. We

really do appreciate that.

And I also wanted to remind everybody, we are going

to be offering CEU credits. And we're excited about that.

Actually, that's in collaboration with ATIA that turned us

on to the AAC Institute.

Thank you again, Caroline, for turning us on to


And we've developed a relationship with them, and

that's how we're actually able to give out CEUs.

And I was wondering, Liz, if you had anything that

you wanted to add as far as how people can obtain the CEUs.

I know you've provided information, but I just want to make

sure that people have an opportunity to have that


LIZ PERSAUD: Hopefully everyone can hear me. This

is Liz with the Pass It On Center.

If you are interested in obtaining CEUs, just visit

the website and click on their "CEU

Information" tab. And once you go on there, you'll be able

to find a list of all the Pass It On Center webinars.

Click on this title. And they'll lead you, from that point

on, on instructions on how to get your CEU information

submitted to them.

And we also have it posted on the Pass It On Center


CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Excellent. Thank you.

And I did just receive a little e-mail telling me

that the mic is too close to my mouth. So I have moved it

back a little bit. So let me know if that sounds better.

Caroline, it sounds like you think it sounds

better. So hopefully it does.

Okay. As I said, we have Trish Redmon with us

today. Trish is invaluable to the success of the Pass It

On Center.

If you like what the knowledge base is producing as

far as content, you can thank Trish Redmon. She has really

produced amazing quality when it comes to content and has

done a great job in creating some PowerPoints for us.

This is one that she did develop actually all by

herself, and she did a great job. And so I'm thrilled that

she's actually sitting here with me today. And we'll be

going through this together with you.

This webinar Succession Planning, as I said, very

important topic.

I find that a lot of times we're talking about

sustainability and sustainability of our reuse programs and

other programs that we're working with. But we don't

really talk about succession planning. And there really is

a space that we need to carve out to have this discussion

because it's such an important one.

A lot of times people think that, when we're saying

succession planning, that we're really just talking about

executive directors or directors, CEOs, what have you.

But actually this crosses, you know, across to that

very talented technician that you've got working with you,

that volunteer that is just outstanding and what would you

do without that volunteer, and the person who is actually

helping you with your data or answering the phone, and

really figuring out what is the plan for when that person

either gets another job, moves on, what have you.

So this is also important. We want to point out

that this is our first -- not lecture -- it's a webinar

workshop. And so we want you to know that we see this as

an interactive activity.

You can -- at the very bottom of the PowerPoint

screen right here, it says "Download the webinar working

package" from our Pass It On Center address. So it's

And then it's right there. And we'll actually show

that to you in just a few minutes so that you can actually

see where that is. And actually, I'll go ahead and paste

it right now, and we'll go there so that everybody sees

where that is.

So it says "New to the knowledge base." And then

right underneath it it says "Succession Planning as a Key

Sustainability" and -- "Strategy."

So that's where you would actually click on that.

And then you can download it from that site right there.

So I'm going to go back to our presentation. And

as you heard earlier, this presentation will be on our

website -- on the Pass It On Center website -- with a

transcript and the PowerPoint within three weeks. We're

excited that Kimberly does that great work for us.

And thank you, Kimberly, for doing that.

We've got some learning objectives that we would

like to share with you. And we're going to be weaving in

experiences as we go throughout this talk today. But here

are some things that we definitely -- tangible that we want

you to understand and to walk away with.

So the learning objective is to understand the

purpose of succession planning. Why do we even care about

this? Why is it important? So we're going to talk about


We're also going to identify key positions that you

need to think about when you're thinking about succession

planning or the continuation of your program.

We're going to perform a gap analysis and talk

about how that works. And then also we're going to

hopefully help you walk through how to design a development


So as we said, the worksheets for this webinar are

on the knowledge base. And we do see this as a workshop.

We would like your feedback. If you like this

format, we would like to do more of this in the future. So

please let us know if this does work.

So Trish, is there anything you'd like to add right


All right. So we'll move on to the next. Great.

The definition for succession planning. We can

define this many different ways. A lot of us, as we look

at nonprofits that we thought were really great and they

have fallen by the wayside, one way to define it is that

they didn't have a succession plan.

When we see companies that are for profit that

either, you know, haven't come up with a way to pass their

business on to the next generation or they haven't really

built any depth so that it can succeed without that

individual, that's a way to define -- you know, what

happened there? They didn't have a succession plan.

So those are real-life experiences. I've seen all

of those things happen.

A lot of times, whenever I'm on an advisory council

or a board, I am often -- that's one of my first questions:

"What's our succession plan? Who's going to be in charge?

Who's going to help make sure that this project -- if it's

that important that we're meeting and we're investing our

time -- which is the most valuable thing that we have --

and our resources, how we make sure it continues and it

lives beyond us, if you will."

So succession planning. Here's a definition: It's

a subset of workforce planning in which critical positions

are targeted and staff are prepared to qualify for the

targeted positions.

So it's pretty much just making sure that you have,

you know, targeted people; and you know what staff

positions need to be replaced; and you also have started

working on preparing folks, you know, that they qualify for

this; that you don't just say, "Well, here's the person I

think -- because I like, you know, the way they dress," or,

"Gosh, you know, they showed up today. So you're my

succession plan."

I've actually met people that that was their

succession plan: whoever showed up on time. And I'm like,

Woo, I don't know if that's the best approach.

Sometimes a succession plan is called building

bench strength. If you think back to, you know, I guess

sports analogies. So building bench strength. You know,

who do you have on the bench that could come in at any

moment. Or building depth. And I would say that actually

both of those apply. No doubt about it.

And as we said, sometimes it's that technician that

is as important as that CEO. And it's a matter of

determining what positions.

I know, when we were first starting the ReBoot

program, they could have easily done without me some days,

really and truly. But they could not do without the person

who is sitting there repairing those computers. So that's

the position that I cared the most about.

You know, I could go away, and I have gone away,

and it's lived beyond me. But it's really about those

other positions and how important they really are. So we

want you to think beyond the big position, the ones with

all the visibility, if you will.

So why do we do this? What's the purpose here?

Succession planning is -- it is a key to sustaining the

reuse program -- or any program, but we're talking about

reuse, so reuse program -- because it ensures that the most

important assets are present.

Human resources with the knowledge and skills --

and I would even add abilities -- to accomplish the

mission. And that really does take planning. And I would

encourage you, if you don't know -- if you're not training

people right now to take your place, then I would encourage

you to start thinking that way so you have an idea of who

do you need to start investing your knowledge -- you know,

parting your knowledge to, giving -- you know, building

skills, getting confidence behind this person.

And the goal is to avoid a personnel gap that

diminishes or delays service to customers. Honestly, I've

been on some boards, and I've been working with some

programs, that obviously is one of the first questions I

ask: "What is our succession plan?"

But the next question that I have is, you know, "If

you don't have a succession plan, then, you know, how do we

have confidence?"

You know, I think that it also sometimes makes

people lose confidence in your abilities to continue to

provide services. So that's very important.

I think there's also a stress that a lot of people

feel if they don't know that you're already thinking in

this way.

And I think even just talking about it, putting it

out on the table and saying, "Hey, let's talk about

succession planning. What are your thoughts?" That opens

the door and I think builds confidence and eases some

anxiety that could be out there.

So succession planning. Once again, I love the

visuals here that Trish has developed. I am such a visual

person, so I appreciate this.

So there are four benefits, if you will. And

here -- I'm going to go through these.

The first one, "It strengthens the program's

capacity for long-term sustainability." There are people

that joked about Conan -- I guess it was Conan O'Brien who

in 2005 was named as "Tonight Show" host, and then I think

he's only lasted seven months, unfortunately. But it was a

succession plan, right? But it's planning that long-term


Number two -- that's actually probably a bad


But number two, "Ensures smooth transition in

change of leaders or key employees."

Number three, "It affords development opportunities

for staff and board members." I think it also points

people in a direction as to, you know, what are the gaps

here. Not just once you get people kind of designated, but

what are the skills gaps. You know, how can we target this

person's training? How can we mold in this person in some

ways to really take this -- you know, the organization, the

program, not just keep it going but maybe even grow it.

And then number four, "It serves as an indicator of

program health to potential donors." I've actually seen on

application sheets before for grants and for people who

have foundations that, if they really want to invest in

you, do you have a succession plan. I've seen that. And I

think it should actually be there a lot more.

So creating a succession plan is not usually the

highest priority on the list. There's so many demands on

people's time and especially on the leadership. But it

really should be.

The plan, it brings together the individual

personnel development goals, and it really brings

everything together so that it's -- and it's also based --

it helps you kind of develop things so that it's based on

the need of your organization and the need of the people in

order to keep things going smoothly.

The other thing, honestly, is that the reuse

programs are so valuable. And we're learning that more and

more as time progresses.

But also, as the economy continues to go the way

that it's been going, we're seeing in some reuse programs

an increase of 40 percent, you know, as far as people

coming to the door and saying, "I need your help." Also

with, you know, all these things happening with emergency


So having that plan and knowing what's going to

happen long term, I think that more and more we're seeing

where the reuse programs are an integral part of people

with disabilities continuing to get the AT that they need.

Some of the challenges to tackling the issue for

leadership -- there are quite a few of them. For example,

no anticipated change in the near future. I was raised

with the saying that you can never tell the future. You

know, don't plan -- you know, you can plan for tomorrow,

but don't count on it.

And I think that a lot of us forget that. We get

into that idea of, Oh, this is going to last forever; I'm

always going to be around; everything's going to be fine.

And that doesn't always happen.

So the absence of obvious candidates for

development, that can also be a challenge. If you don't

have anybody in particular in mind, that doesn't mean that

you can't acknowledge that these specific positions need to

have a succession plan for them, and here's some of the

training that needs to be involved in that, and then start

figuring out where would you find these people. You know,

who would you look to to help you out in finding and

identifying the people?

An attempt to do plan leadership succession might

highlight issues. I think that a lot of people do get

sensitive about that.

I just read an Eckhart Tolle book, and it was

amazing because this came up several times where people

do -- they're kind of blind to some of their own

weaknesses, and they don't want to hear about their


And I'm often telling my team, "I'm full of

weaknesses. I failed my way to success. So tell me where

we need to grow." But apparently that's not everybody's

idea of a conversation for leadership. But really and

truly it should be.

So where are the gaps and being honest about that.

Do you have inadequate resources? Do you have low

compensation? Are you paying what somebody else would be

paying in the same city, in the next city over, in a

comparable city in a different state?

Is the job overwhelming? Is the person that's

doing that job actually doing three jobs? And we've seen

that where it is hard to plan for succession if you've got

somebody doing three jobs and not getting paid enough.

Also insecurity of the incumbent. And Trish made a

quote in parenthesis, "Not any of us!" So we're not

pointing our fingers. But I think there is often that

insecurity that comes in. And it's important that we just

be honest about, you know, where we are in our own


So it's important that we tackle these issues.

Trish was telling me an interesting story about her


And do you mind sharing that for just a moment?

TRISH REDMON: I have a brother who's built a very

successful business with two partners over the years. His

plan was to make a lot of money and retire early.

Well, he built a successful business. He's made a

lot of money. One of his partners has walked away and

retired. So now he owns a half of a business, not a third

of it.

And he has four daughters, none of whom have

demonstrated any interest in owning a high-voltage

electrical contracting firm. Nor has his partners had any

family members interested. And they haven't bothered to

find an employee or an interested party.

So they're facing, in the next couple of years,

either simply closing the doors or trying to sell this

business in a very bad economy.

So this is a great example of a lack of succession

planning for a profitable business. And I'm sure this is

true, even more the case, in a lot of small nonprofits who

are resource challenged.

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: I think that's a really good

story. And it makes me want to get in touch with your

brother and try to help him out.

But the thing is is I think a lot of us are in that

situation or have been in that situation. And we want to

help you move beyond that because obviously we're invested

in the resource programs surviving, and not just surviving

but thriving.

So planning for leadership succession. Once again,

four steps that we want you to consider. And these steps

we want you to think about whether you're a nonprofit or a

government agency.

If you're a nonprofit you have to go through

different steps in some ways because the board of directors

needs to be involved. If you're with a government agency,

then clearly you would need, you know, some support from

higher up within your agency; otherwise, that probably

wouldn't go over well.

But in any case, here's some steps for you to think


So consider the short-term interim and permanent

replacement situations with the board and the council --

your board, council, leadership, what have you. So what

does it look like if you're gone for a day or a month,

three months. What does that look like? Or if that

person's pulled out, how does that affect, you know, the

flow of your program? How does it affect people getting

your equipment or picking up donations or getting computers

repaired or DME repaired?

Step two, identify the candidates for each of the

three circumstances.

So who is your short-term person? Who can step in

for that day, that week? Who can step in for the interim,

you know, if it's three months that somebody's out? Who

can step in and handle that? And if it's a long-term or

permanent replacement that you're looking at, who can step

in? Who would be a good candidate for that?

So I would have in mind those three different


Number three, defining the training opportunities

in critical skill areas and competencies for the

candidates. For example, I'm not so sure that, if

somebody -- there's a lot of importance to cross-training.

I really believe that, and I think that a lot of us know

that within the AT reuse community.

I feel like I could do any number of things within

an AT reuse program, and I know you could too. But what

are those critical skills?

Does that person know how to clean casters? Do

they know how to connect a battery appropriately to a

motorized wheelchair? Do they know how to even do

something as simple as copy hard drives in a legal way?

And what are those skills, and how do you get that

information to those people?

Step four, formalize the plan in writing and

communicate it to staff. That's very important that people

know that this is actually written down.

I think Jessica Brodey would actually take it

another level and say make sure that you've got this plan

written down and actually lots of copies of it in safe

places. Because that's something else that ends up

happening is people will say like, "Oh, gosh. I think we

worked on that plan, but we don't know where it is." So

make sure that you educate people about your plan.

Our next slide talks about differing circumstances

so the different circumstances that, you know, you need to

consider for developing a backup for the program leader.

So ordinary absences, a day or two, could be, you

know, considered a caretaker. And so we'll talk about that

in just a second. But there are other ones that you want

to think about.

Sustainable programs have consistent leadership,

not gaps from lack of planning. A decision maker should be

available at all times. Who can sign the checks if a check

needs to be signed? Who's the backup person for the checks

and, you know, to be able to sign the checks? Who can have

access to the banking account? Who can hire people, and

who can let go of folks if they need to be let go of?

Who can write out donation thank you letters? You

know, that's something that normally one person is able to

do. And have y'all designated who that person is?

So a caretaker for planned, brief absences:

business trip, day off, ordinary illness.

I was actually talking to one of our independent

living center directors not long ago, and she literally has

not had a day off in three years. Three years.

And I said, "Why haven't you had a day off?"

And she said, "Nobody can do this."

And I'm like, "Yes, they can. Yes, they can. If

they can't, then, you know, you need to give them the

opportunity. You need to take care of yourself, and you

also need to just plan for these absences."

So a capable interim director for longer absences:

the vacations, the longer conferences, extended family

emergencies, major illnesses. And then a competent backup

for transition.

Do y'all have any questions right now? Feel free

to put a question in the public-chat area.

And I got your message, Mary. Thank you very much.

All right. So identifying the candidates. I would

start with candidates -- and I think Trish would too -- who

have expressed some interest in leadership.

This may surprise you. It's amazing to me whenever

I'm like, "Who wants to take the lead on this?" And people

I would not have necessarily designated raise their hand.

And I'm like, "Yes." It's so good to have people step up.

There are other folks that you would expect to want

to embrace the leadership role, and they may not want to.

So it could be board members. It could be key employees.

It could be that volunteer that you, you know, are just

getting to know.

Permanent replacement of the leader is a board or

agency-leader decision. But continuing the program is the

responsibility of the leader and the advisory group,

whoever that is.

So it doesn't have to be a charismatic leader, you

know, somebody who embraces that whole mission and it

depends on one person. You should think about the people

who are being served by the program.

There's a program that we were working with that --

they were looking for somebody who was going to be able to

continue their program. And it's a reuse program.

And sure enough, they just put out a call, and a

volunteer said, "Hey, I'd love to do this."

And they have raised more money in the past two

years than they did for the last six years, even during

this economy. So that's pretty amazing. And once again,

it was just about asking.

Exercise leadership. Think about replacements, and

initiate the discussion with the appropriate parties. Very


We'd also encourage you to being a project-driven

organization rather than a person-driven organization. So


This affords more opportunities in all kinds of

roles, including leadership roles. So introduce the idea

of coaching and mentoring. We can get some resources to

you if you need to know what those are.

If you don't know what mentoring is, that's one of

my favorite things is actually mentoring people and then

also having a mentor myself. It's amazing how much you can

learn by having that individual attention.

So once again, looking at it from a project-driven

way and developing -- integrating coaching and mentoring

into your plan.

Creating opportunities for would-be leaders to

interact with the board, with donors, and with customers

that you have.

Involving leadership candidates in budgeting,

planning, decision making. It's amazing to me. Sometimes

people that you think, "Gosh, you know, they would be the

best leader," may not be able to make a decision quickly,

and that may stall your program. So giving somebody --

kind of trying this person out, if you will.

Leave someone in charge when you're away, just like

we said earlier. And identify the formal webinars,

opportunities, courses, seminars so that the person can

grow and the individuals can grow.

So the plan. Talking about this plan. And as we

move more toward the worksheets, I hope that y'all did

download those worksheets. I'm going to give you the

address one more time for some of the folks that might have

come on a little bit later. You can go there to our

website and download the succession-planning-workshop


So the plan. You formalize the leadership, you

know, get the board approval; share the development plan

with major donors and supporters.

Once again, a lot of foundations are looking for

that kind of leadership. They want to know that you've got

a bigger plan. Some people will actually ask to see it.

There's one group that I'm familiar with that we've

worked with that they actually had their next executive

director for a year just shadowing. And it really made a

difference in the long-term sustainability of this reuse


And once again, it also builds I guess more

confidence in the organization. And I think it also builds

more, I guess, community around that group because then

they know for sure who their next leader is going to be.

Tie leadership succession planning to key employee

succession planning so that it's really perceived as part

of the mission. And that's another thing that you can

actually do.

The key to employee succession planning -- and this

is what we were talking about before. Because a lot of

times people think, "Oh, it's just about the leaders."

Not necessarily. There are times that I would

absolutely make sure that you have that technician

succession planning, that you have already got an idea of

who your next people are going to be that are going to fill

those roles.

Who's going to be that person that delivers your

equipment? Who's going to be that person that matches

equipment? Those are all very important positions and also

very skilled positions.

So people often -- they end up doing the work

quickly. A lot of times people say, "Oh, there's no time

for training. There's no money for training." And I would

say sometimes that's true, unless you can plan for it.

There's no readily available resources for the

training needed. Once again, I think that a lot of people

have started sending their folks to the Pass It On Center

webinars and said, "Hey, sit down and look at all the

webinars." Feel free to do that. That's not a problem.

And then also a lack of commitment. It's not easy

to do this kind of training and also this kind of planning.

But once again, it's very important.

So what we're going to do is we're going to walk

through the process for key employees and for the

succession planning for key employees.

The first step is, once again, identify the key

positions. And you are the only one who really knows what

the key positions are for your specific organization, your

reuse group.

Assess the bench strength, if you will. Looking

around and, you know, who have you got? Who could step in

if that person goes on vacation? Who could step in if the

person, you know, has an injury and needs to be on medical

leave for three months or what have you?

If your mind doesn't immediately go to somebody,

and you're sitting there a little nervous, that's okay.

That's why we're talking about it now.

Perform that gap analysis. Where are the gaps in

your organization? And this is just to help you in

general. It really is a healthy exercise for you to go

through to see, Well, where are our gaps if everybody's in

place, and where are gaps if we lose somebody?

And then devise these development strategies.

And track your progress. It's important to be able

to say, you know, this is where we were today, January

19th, 2010, and we plan to have a succession plan in place

by 2011, January 19th.

And see how far you come. What positions have you

identified? What have you developed? And where are you

moving forward with this plan? And share that with folks

so that they know that you're actually thinking about it.

We've got the worksheets that I've referred to a

few times. And they're going to help us organize the

planning process and get us thinking. But the final plan

may be very simple. It could be just a one-page document.

I am going to turn this over to Trish, and she's

going to walk us through some more of this.

And, once again, Trish, you did a great job on

pulling this together. So here you go, Trish.

TRISH REDMON: Thank you, Carolyn.

Carolyn's very adept at webinars. So I hope you'll

put comments if I'm not holding the mic in the proper place

or you can't hear appropriately.

I would tell you that in 1998 I had my ultimate

challenge for succession planning. I had taken over the IT

department of a major newspaper that was about three

generations behind in technology. And we had to replace

every system for 450 users before Y2K hit.

And I had about three people with skills to even

begin to support the whole new environment. So my

challenge was to build a staff that was three deep in about

two years.

And I did this with a sense of desperation,

identifying all the training they needed, you know, what

skills we needed in the department. And I had all this

plan reduced to a single page when the external auditors

from Deloitte & Touche showed up and asked me to give them

the plan for how I was going to accomplish this.

And so I had to produce my single page with a lot

of trepidation. And they said, "Oh, a comprehensive

succession plan." So I was thrilled.

So I want you to know that, even though we have

four worksheets, you can wind up with one page, and it will

do everything you need to do. We're just going through

some worksheets to make it simpler for you to understand

the thought process.

And we've already talked about the first step. So

step one is to identify which positions in your

organization are key positions.

Now, to be honest, we know that in a reuse

organization, this is probably every position that you have

because you never have enough resources.

If we look at some of the org charts for

organizations, they're completely staffed with fractions of

people, partial FTEs and a lot of volunteers.

But all of those people are key to your success and

to accomplishing the mission. So we still need to go

through the thought process, whether they're volunteers or

employees or contractors.

So let's identify -- if you take your worksheet,

and if you want to start scribbling in this, you'll have

the beginning of a plan before we finish the webinar.

So let's just identify what the key positions are

and the incumbent. Who's in that position at the moment?

Now, I'm going to walk you through my scenario for

starting this. I created a little reuse program, and

here's my scenario for the key positions.

Bill's an accountant who's very important in my

program. The people who keep the books are always very

important in your program.

Now, the truth is, though, that accounting

procedures are not unique to reuse programs. So in some

ways, having him out for an extended illness would be more

difficult to handle than actually recruiting a replacement

for him. But we do need someone to fill in for his

vacation, illnesses, or unanticipated emergencies.

Then I have a technician. Joe has been with the

program for 11 years, and he's certified, and he

refurbishes all the mobility devices. The problem is that

next year he's planning to retire and return to Costa Rica,

live the good life. So I have a real short-term problem


Alicia's job as the intake clerk is very important,

but it's not that difficult to learn. But we haven't

bothered to fully train anyone to substitute for her.

Maya's our part-time occupational therapist. Her

role as the person who matches devices to customers is

critical for our service. But she's only a part-time OT

for us, which makes it even more difficult to recruit

someone. Where are we going to find another part-time OT?

And she's probably going to move in three years when her

husband graduates from medical school.

Now, Keenah's the dynamo behind all the marketing

efforts. She runs the donation drives. She produces all

the collateral. She appears at events on our behalf. She

helps us raise the money. We'd be lost without her. And

we don't have any backup.

But when we get to human resources, we're covered.

We've outsourced that. So a contractor's responsible for

hiring and training replacement resources. So I don't need

to worry about that one.

So I've identified my problems.

So you can fill in those columns on your worksheet

as you go along. Just check the functional areas and see

which ones have positions that are key to the activities,

put the person's name in in column 3.

Now we're going to go to work on actually assessing

the impact. I described the situation for you. I'm going

to give you some guidelines for how to quantify the


The key positions. In column 4, what's the

difficulty of replacing this person? And to determine

that, we need to think about the function, how common is

it, the degree of responsibility the person has, what kind

of authority they have to make decisions, and what their

specific skills are.

So we'll use a range of numbers from 1 to 10. And

the low range, 1 to 3, will be a job that uses common

knowledge and skills. These are readily available in the

working population. So it would not be so difficult to

identify someone with those skills.

In the medium range, from 4 to 7 points, we'll

assign points based on how important the knowledge and

specific skills are for this job.

And then the high will be critical, unique

knowledge. Someone who's a specialist or if this is a

position in a highly competitive market.

It might be a computer technician helping with your

refurbishing program, but you may be in a market that just

gobbles up resources for those kinds of jobs. So it still

might be a lot of points.

So you assign points for the position impact based

on those things.

In column 5 we're going to assess the likelihood of

a vacancy for any reason. And sometimes we don't know, but

too often we do know. When I gave you my scenario, I

described some background information.

I know the staff, so I know what their plans are.

So I know a lot about the likelihood of vacancies in those

areas. And it may be due to marketability. Maybe they can

get a better job somewhere else. Maybe they have

retirement approaching soon. Maybe they have other

interests that may divert them from our program. Or it may

be personal circumstances that take them away.

And this time we're going to assign points based on

low probability that they'll leave, which means that you

expect them to be around five years or more. A medium

probability, two points. That means, in the next five

years, maybe I'll lose that person. Or high probability, 3

points. Within a year I'm going to lose that person.

And I told you that Jose is going to retire, so you

know I'm in trouble on one front.

Now let's just add up the points that you assigned

to these things in column 6. And the total of these points

is going to determine the priority for developing backup,

with the larger numbers getting the highest priority.

So you can now take those and just number them in

reverse order, and you have your priorities. So this is a

simple way to take the emotion out of the planning and who

gets priority for training and development.

So if we look at our little worksheet, we'll see

that I need to get really busy developing a backup for my

technician. I don't have a lot of time to train someone.

I have less than a year, and I'm going to be out of time.

I really need to be thinking about who's going to

replace my occupational therapist. And I need to think

about what I'll do if I have even a long-term illness in my

accounting position. And then I still have the marketing

coordinator and the intake clerk.

But I've identified my five positions and the

priority I'm going to assign to them.

So my next step is to assess the bench strength

that I have existing in the organization. Most of us have

done some cross-training, or we have people who have

learned parts of other jobs.

And that's true, too, because Bill has been a

short-term backup for the director. And that's very common

for financial and accounting people to be the leadership

backup. Mostly, if we've trusted them with the checkbook,

then we probably trust them with the program for short-term


And Elaine has covered emergencies when Keenah was

out. So she's helped with marketing.

And then we've had Keenah also cover for the intake

clerk in emergencies. So we know we have a little bit of

cross-training in the organization but certainly not enough

to plug these gaps. So how are we going to choose these


We mention this in the leadership portion. The

first thing we want to do is start with people who

expressed an interest. And you may have some of this

information based on your annual performance evaluations,

if you're doing those, which you should.

When people articulate their goals or their

interests, then we make a note of it, and we say we want to

try to help them further those interests. Well, this is a

good opportunity to do that.

Then we consider those people we've identified who

already know portions of jobs and who would be interested.

I want to caution you not to develop people who don't have

a real interest in that job. You can sit there and spend

your time and your resources and wind up with no more

backup than you had to start with.

So let's plug into our spreadsheet part of our

plan. And what we're going to do here is focus on one

backup for each person. So the goal might be can I be two

deep in two years? My goal in the IT scenario was how can

I be three deep in three years?

But if you have no backup for every single key

position, then it's very important just to have that first


So identify those. And if you have more than one

candidate for that, enter the information. I've just done

backup #1. You can do backup #1 and 2 if you have the

luxury of the people.

In the next step we're going to address some of the

gap analysis. Now, some of the gaps may be in people who

are incumbents in the jobs. And don't overlook that when

you start making the development plan for additional


So we want to use our job descriptions to identify

the competencies or skills that are essential, and then we

need to identify sources of training for those sources and


So on worksheet number 3, the second column, we're

going to identify who those people are. So as we plug the

name in, now we compare the skills the person has at the

moment with the skills that are required to do the job.

This will help us identify the training that needs to take


So we'll have a list of the kinds of training or

the skills that are missing. And at that point we want to

know where will we get this training. And this does not

always need to be external training. It doesn't always

need to be expensive training.

Obviously, your first source and easiest avenue for

training is on-the-job cross-training. If you can make

that happen and you have someone that's skilled enough to

do that, then you assign the person and make the time

available for opportunities for them to learn the other


Perhaps online webinars or some online courses

would be helpful. Maybe you really need to pursue some

external training or education.

Budget is going to be an issue. It always is. So

let's look for where you can do the most cost-effective

training for these people.

And there are some other avenues for those things.

If you're running a DME refurbishing program, maybe you

want to ask some of your local DME providers if there are

things they could do to help you train more people.

This doesn't get them certified. They would need

to go to programs to become certified. But it gives you

some more backup.

Now, worksheet number 4 is going to be a simple

timeline. All we're going to do is say year 1, year 2,

year 3. And we'll break it down by quarters. We won't try

to get the specific "We'll get this done on this exact

date" because we know things always interfere with plans

that precise.

But we'd like to have a quarterly plan and break

down the timing, the commitment of resources to cover for

people while they're being trained, and the cost of the

training. So this is going to help us get to our simple,

one-page plan.

Once you've identified all of the resources and the

types of training that you're going to use, you'll need to

assign a cost to this. Because this is going to go not

only in your succession plan; this is going to be part of

your long-term financial plan for the program.

So you'll include the training cost in, for

example, a three-year financial plan. So prepare that

budget. And when you're finished, you should be able to

present this in probably a one-page table or spreadsheet to

show these things.

Now, if you're drafting a succession plan for

senior leadership, I think it's advisable that you really

write down your goals and you produce a document that might

be two or three pages long that explains what you've done.

You may even want to do this with your key employee

succession planning so that everyone sees that you really

do have a roadmap for how to build depth in the operation

and secure the services that you deliver to the customer.

But it doesn't have to be a very complex thing.

Something simple and straightforward that spells out your

thought process, what you see as your potential liabilities

in terms of turnover, and what you're going to do to make

sure that there really are not service gaps when that


CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Trish, thank you so much. That

was excellent. And I really like the worksheet. It got me

thinking about several things that I think will be helpful.

What are y'all's thoughts, and what questions do

you have for Trish or for me before we wrap up?

And I'm going to release the mic, so feel free to

raise your hand and ask us questions or type it into the

public-chat area.

This is Carolyn again. Have any of you done a

succession plan?

And I know -- Lee Learson, it's good to see you on.

And I know that you've done this type of work before.

And, Denise, thank you for that great feedback. We

appreciate that. We do like to think, and we like people

that are thinking with us.

So, Lee, I know you've done succession planning

before. What are your thoughts, or do you have any advice

you would like to share with folks?

And I know that Rob's also on with RSA. And he's

done some sustainability planning.

Feel free to jump in if you have something you

would like to add to the discussion. We'd be very

interested to hear what y'all have to say.

And, Lee, I think you're right on.

Lee Learson, who's been in the reuse community for

years, says, "It's necessary, and you never know what's

going to happen." That is so true. That is so true.

When we were first starting the ReBoot program,

there was a whole team of us that started that program.

And literally in two weeks we had our key technician for

laptop repair, our key technician for the overall lab both

end up in the same hospital. And they were both in there

long term. Like we're talking six weeks.

And then our third person who was the succession --

you know, we had said, "Yes, you're the guy," actually

ended up -- he had MS, and he ended up having an episode

and couldn't move.

So you never know what's going to happen. And

thankfully our volunteers kicked in. And it made us think

a lot more about succession planning.

And you can plan and plan and plan and still not

know what's going to happen. So you never do know what's

going to happen. But it's good to plan, and it's good to

think about these things.

So in summary, we would like you to think about

these things: that planning for uninterrupted leadership

really is key to sustaining your program. It's key, not

just as I said before, in confidence so that people know

what it is that you want to continue; but really and truly

the things we plan for are usually the things that


If we plan and we put intention towards this, then

it means that this program is very important. And that's a

good thing.

It also shows that people are invested in the

program. And the truth is y'all are doing outstanding work

in the reuse community. You are definitely getting

technology to folks that would otherwise go without or even

without that specific piece of technology. So planning

gives attention to the program and to the good work you're


Developing successors for all key positions, it

contributes to the consistent service. Make sure that

things don't, you know, just fall behind; that all of a

sudden no one's answering the phone or no one's processing

any applications for equipment. It sustains the program,

and it builds a better qualified staff.

I've got to tell you, it makes me feel good to know

that my work is important and that my absence -- that it is

missed. And it means so much that I work for somebody who

sees that. I really appreciate that.

It also makes me feel good to know that work

continues when I'm gone, you know, and that's a good thing.

So it's great to know who those skills and

knowledge that can keep things going and also have buy-in

from your leadership above, if you will, whether it's in

advisory council or somebody higher up in the hierarchy of

your job.

Failure to do your succession planning can be as

damaging as failure to obtain operating income. That is so

true. It is so true.

There's a program that we're working with right

now. Really and truly they're going to close their doors

because nobody has planned for a succession plan. Nobody

has really even thought about it. They feel like, Oh, I've

done this for X number of years; I'm done; I want to

retire, and that's that.

And, you know, there are a lot of people in that

state that are going to be struggling because they're not

going to be around anymore -- this program is not going to

be around anymore to help those folks.

And I do think -- you know, the work we do is

tiring physically, mentally, emotionally. It can be

tiring. And, you know, everybody deserves to retire at

some point. But it's important for the folks that you're

serving. It shows them respect also to have that plan and

to plan ahead.

Commitment is as important as money in succession

planning. That's very true. If you can get that

commitment and you can get folks on board with the

importance of this, it really can make a big difference.

We hope that you've enjoyed this webinar. We hope

that you gleaned something from this that you're going to

be able to walk away and say, Yeah, that's helpful.

Denise, we appreciate your positive feedback. It's

good to see you on -- that it was good info and that it

made you think.

If you have more questions or just want to talk

with us about succession planning or sustainability, we'd

be very happy to talk with you.

Trish. You can contact her at And you could also contact Liz

Persaud, who's with us. She's online with us, and you can

contact her at Or you can contact

me, "Passitoncenter" is all


And we would like you to think about this and many

other keys to sustainability because we want you to be

around, especially, as I said earlier -- in reference to

earlier, when things are happening -- disasters, what have

you, what happened in Haiti -- it is so good to know that

we do have a network of people out there that have

experience in quality reuse so that we can call upon you,

and you can call upon us, and we can work together to meet

the needs of folks who are in very desperate situations.

There are people that we know that are in very

desperate situations every day. I know you meet them as

they roll into your offices or walk into your offices. I

know that we see that too, especially when there's a whole

city that's struggling. It's very, very important.

Sharon, good to see you. I'm glad that you're on.

"Excellent information, and glad -- is this going to be

archived?" Absolutely. And good to see you, Sharon.

Any other thoughts that y'all would like to share?

I also know that Joy Kniskern, you've done some

succession planning. Is there anything that you would like

to share?

And thank you, Sharon.

Anything that you would like to share as far as

your expertise?

And anyone else want to throw in any other idea

about this? I'm going to release the mic so that y'all can


JOY KNISKERN: Hey, Carolyn. And glad to see that

everybody was on the webinar today. And I think you

covered a lot of really good information. It's something

for all of us to think about.

It reminds me of when, years ago, I worked with the

S.M.A.R.T. Exchange, a small group that worked with many

nonprofits establishing AT reuse -- not AT reuse but

demonstration centers.

And one of the findings they had was that the

A-number-1 issue for smaller organizations was, when that

knowledge base moved on, retired, what have you, that that

was the major issue in terms of their being able to keep

the organization afloat.

So I really encourage all of you to continue to

work on identifying your plans for sustainability and

giving us feedback and Carolyn feedback as to what are some

of the things that you need to know about that we may not

have covered.

So with that, thanks so much for participating.

And we'll open the floor for any other comments or


CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Okay. Well, y'all can think

about this. I know that this is a very important topic.

It's a very heavy topic, if you will. I don't think any of

us really want to think about, oh, lord, what could happen.

But once again, very important to think about those things.

And, Trish, I wanted to thank you once again. You

have done an outstanding job in pulling information

together. This was an excellent presentation, and I

appreciate all your work.

Do you have any closing thoughts for us or anything

you would like to share?

TRISH REDMON: I would like to know from all of you

not only any other questions you might have about

succession planning but any suggestions that you have for

what we could do to make our webinars more effective for


This is our first attempt to respond to the request

that we move into the nitty-gritty of the how-to. We've

done two years of a lot of really useful information on a

general level and introductory information. And we heard

from people at the reuse conference that they would like to

have more detailed, nitty-gritty, granular information.

So I would really like to hear from you about what

that could be and what areas that you really need tools and

help in. And we'd like your feedback on how we can improve

in any way.

Thanks so much for your participation today.

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Excellent. Thank you, Trish.

I just want to say how much I appreciated looking

at the chart and seeing how that flowed. I think that was

very, very helpful.

And I was actually looking for the slide where you

actually show how things -- the different columns and

what -- you know, just getting us thinking about and

weighing those things, actually coming up with a way that

we can think about it and taking the emotion out of it. I

think that's a very helpful tool. So thanks again.

All right. Well, we wish all of you a great day,

and we appreciate all your help.

Chase, thank you so much for that feedback. It

means a lot. Thank you, Chase. You said, "Well done."

And we appreciate that.

We wanted to remind everybody, once again, we will

be at ATIA. We've got ten session strands. That's going

to be outstanding. I'm so excited about this. And while

presenters have been preparing for a long time and pulling

the information together, a lot of new information will be


As we see it, we continue to grow and dig deeper

into these subjects. So it's not going to be just the same

information again. It will be deeper information.

And also wanted to let you know that we are doing a

preconference. I know that y'all have heard us talk about

this. But we are going to be doing a preconference at the

beginning of ATIA. We're very excited about this.

I just looked at the folders that Trish pulled

together. We're also going to have thumb drives that we're

going to be giving out. And the materials look


I wish that I had had that information when we

started out reuse programs in Georgia but sure am excited

that we'll be able to impart that knowledge to the


We have participants that are going to be there and

an amazing group of experts from around the country who are

going to be sharing their expertise with us. So we're

excited about that.

Trish, anything that you want to add as far as

details? I know it will be on January -- the preconference

is on January the 27th. There's still time to register.

And, Caroline, is there anything that you would

like to add to this announcement?

CAROLINE VAN HOWE: Hi, Carolyn. I'd just like to

invite you to let everyone on the webinar know about the

special reduced, discounted preconference fee. If you'd

like to share that with them, I think that'd be great.

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Great. Thank you, Caroline.

Caroline has been amazing to work with -- Caroline

Van Howe with ATIA. And she knows that we continue to grow

in this area and try to get more information out there to


A lot of folks within the AT reuse community, I

know y'all can pinch so much more out of a penny than I've

ever seen; so much out of a dollar; that dollar stretches

so far with you. And so I appreciate all of you being

mindful of your resources and all of that.

And what Caroline has extended to us is an

opportunity for the folks to audit the preconference. You

can just pay a fee of $50 -- I hope that's correct,

Caroline -- and you would pay that fee. And then you

wouldn't be able to get the credits, and there are a few

other things that you wouldn't necessarily be able to get.

But you could get the -- participate in the preconference.

And so $50 is all you'd have to pay. If you wanted

to send some staff down, or if you want to participate,

that would be wonderful.

And we really appreciate ATIA reaching out and

extending this offer to us. I really am excited about the

information, and I can't wait for this to start.

Caroline said you can register online. And you

sure can. And if you have more information, feel free to

contact us about that.

Caroline, is there anything else that you would

like to add?

CAROLINE VAN HOWE: Yes. Actually, you can

register on-site, not online.

And just to repeat the offer. There is a special

Pass It On Center discount on the full conference

registration fee, which is $400. That's a reduction from

the on-site fee of $525. That's $125 discount.

So for $450 you can attend the whole conference and

also attend the Pass It On Center webinar, which is an

all-day, pretty much hands-on walkthrough of how to set up

and manage and also do some succession planning as well for

your AT reuse centers.


Sharon, I'm glad to see that you're going to come

and do that. That's excellent. Great. Great. Great.

All right. Well, let's keep the conversation

going. We're excited about ATIA. And we're excited about

all the knowledge that we'll be imparting and also

exchanges down there.

I'm glad that you're with us today. Once again, we

know your time is valuable. Thank you for spending this

time with us.

Liz, is there anything that you would like to add

as far as upcoming webinars?

LIZ PERSAUD: Hey, everyone. This is Liz.

For the upcoming webinars, just be sure to visit us

on the Pass It On Center website under the "Webinar" tab,

and you'll see our schedules that we have up.

And as always, we'll send the announcement out via

e-mail at the beginning of the month and then a day or two

right before just so you have that reminder.

I just wanted to mention, just along with ATIA,

we'll also be in the exhibit hall. So if you're going to

be there, feel free to come by and say hello and see what

we've got going on as well too.

And Carolyn is now pulling up the Pass It On Center

home page. And on the left-hand side you'll see the

webinar announcement box. And if you click here for more

information -- there you go. That takes you right to the

webinar page, gives you a description of the upcoming

webinar. And if you scroll down, you'll see our schedule

for the rest of the year.

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: Excellent. Thank you, Liz.

You've done an outstanding job working with our web people,

Sharon Meek and Kimberly Griffin, to make this happen. So

good job.

So February 23rd, 2K10, as I'm hearing it now,

2010, you can join us. We'd love it. Liz will be our

presenter. She's got all kinds of expertise when it comes

to marketing and continues to grow in this area.

So using your program's website for more effective

communication. And that's what our conversation will be

about next time.

So thank you. Y'all take care. And we're here for

you. So keep in touch. Take care.

And Caroline just said that the Pass It On Center

discount code for $400 conference -- oh, there is a Pass It

On Center discount code for the $400 conference fee. Once

again, that is on-site. I misread that. It's on-site, not


You can e-mail her. And I'm going to let Trish

read out the e-mail for more details.

TRISH REDMON: You can e-mail Caroline at for more details. We look forward to

seeing you there.

CAROLYN PHILLIPS: All right. Y'all take care.

Thanks again.

Thank you, Paul.

Thank you, Denise.

Bye, Liz. Great job.