These pages are for you if you are thinking of sharpening up your institution’s approach to leadership succession or the management of talent.
We anticipate that you no longer need to be convinced about the value of succession planning. But maybe you want some ideas for what works, and you are looking for some help in putting together a plan. Perhaps you want a framework, or some good questions to ask, or some examples of what other organisations have done.
You might also want to be aware of the potential pitfalls, to know what conditions need to be in place for a successful approach, and to have an idea of the way the thinking on succession and talent from other sectors might play out in higher education.
The writers of these pages are all involved with succession or talent within higher education. We have drawn on our own experiences, and the advice of experts, to create a set of practical tools: definitions, sensible questions to ask at each stage, case examples and further reading. Our work was funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education as a Small Development Project in 2011-12.
It is vital that the sector makes the most of the talent within our universities. Our aim at NTU is to better understand, develop and utilise the talent that already exists in our organisation by making succession planning and the development of potential a core business process.
Professor Neil Gorman, vice-chancellor, Nottingham Trent University
Leadership succession is about preparing the university’s future leadership, and in doing so attempting to sustain its success during some challenging times. Funding cuts and the student offer for instance mean that we will be leading and managing in a more complex environment. We need to plan to ensure that we have the right people with the right skills and levels of resilience in place. This will mean working to optimise the performance of those currently in post and developing the leadership talent of those coming through.
Professor Chris Brink, vice-chancellor, Newcastle University