Modern succession planning takes account of the fast-changing world in which organisations have to operate, and assumes that:
In higher education we have a long history of respecting the needs and aspirations of the individual, and of organic rather than top-down change. We also have to factor in academic ambivalence around leadership, a tradition of collegial shared leadership, and discomfort with singling out individuals for special treatment.
All of this suggests that succession and talent schemes within our sector may work best if they are flexible and respectful of individuals’ values and life choices, and if the assessment that they include has an element of autonomy. Enabling individuals to assess whether leadership is for them is as important as enabling the organisation to decide whether the individual matches up to the demands of leadership.