Succession Planning in Government Organizations

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Succession Planning in Government Organizations
Ahmed Khator, Manager, Kenya

Few events in the life of an association are as critical, visible, or stressful as when the leader leaves. The eyes of every member, employee, customer, supplier, and stakeholder are focused on the outgoing executive director or CEO. How such an exit is managed reveals the character and effectiveness of that leader and association.
Once an individual is employed, the process of his replacement starts almost immediately depending on the post, its technical qualification, duration of training, labour force in the market and recruitment process.
A future transition must be prepared well in advance in a process known as succession planning. The process of succession of a CEO for example will be almost immediate since the term of a CEO is the shortest between three and six years while that of an office driver would not be immediate.
My curiosity is in the realization and implementation of this process by government technocrats so that they don't create a vacuum at the exit of current office holders. There is a feeling that government technocrats purposely ignore the succession plan in their departments in order to remain 'relevant'. What is your take?

Study the Case of Egypt
Osama Kamal, Management Consultant, Egypt
I invite every expert to check what happens in Egypt: most of the working managers in all government authorities and ministries are reluctant to execute all missions.
They belong to an old regime where they have financial gains, so they resist the present one, after people's revolution.
They use any managerial tool adversely to let the new system fail. Now it is a debate between management tools and ethics. Do management have ethics?

Managers Have Ethics
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Osama Kamal: Of course managers have ethics, at least they should have and good ones do.
It's no coincidence we have "Business Ethics and Responsibility" as one of the 12manage disciplines at 12manage...
I agree with you that the current situation in Egypt is a good example of the argument of Mr. Khator that it's crucial to have a succession plan for leaders. Clearly there was no such plan for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak due to the revolutionary ending of his office at February 11th, 2011.

Succession Planning in Government Needs Monitoring
John T Njovu, Business Consultant, Zambia
If there is a succession plan, then there should be monitoring tools in place to see that it is implemented. The technocrats may ignore the plan if they know that there is no one to hold them accountable for not implementing the plan.
In Zambia we have a Manpower Planning Division in government. Under the former ruling party, United Independence Party, Zambia had a centralised socialist planning system for manpower. Looks like their planning was not very good as after Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was voted out of power, the socialist planning system was discarded. Many of the state controlled companies folded up. Dr Kaunda apparently failed to even groom a successor and his ruling party is now a shadow of itself due to lack of good leadership.

Fighting Favouritism by Government Succession Planning
I believe that if all government organizations could put proper succession plans in place and cautiously implement such plans, hardly any vacuum would be still created in any serious governmental organization, upon exit of a CEO.
In putting such plans in place, a critical, continuous and holistic study of the workforce needs to be made without regard to family relations, mostly for post exit defence, which to me is an extension of corruption in most organisations.
Favouritism in the selection of a successor is having serious challenges for many organizations in most developing countries such as Ghana.

Managing Leadership Change in Public Sector
Mwangi Ngamate, Other, Kenya
Change must always be managed, there is no way out of saying that one will stay indefinitely in government for as long as they please, we have death and other forms of natural attrition, if management is about systems, then it should be systematized to see bloodless transfer of authority, I mean literary and also figuratively.


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