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Module 12. Sucession Planning with WRLOs

A. Training Notes  

Succession planning is the process of identifying the critical positions within your organization and developing action plans for individuals to assume those positions (University of Washington Human Resources)

In the course of our research, it was noticed that some WRLOs do not have succession plans.  Many organisations are quite new and have not yet had time to develop strong governance structures. There is little training or support available to do this. It becomes a problem when strong leaders are resettled, or become sick or move to other positions, leaving gaps in management, and organisational knowledge. It is important that this does not happen, or organisations can fail.  Funders will be looking to ensure that there is continuity if they are thinking of funding an organisation.

This section is different from other Modules, because the needs of WRLOs will vary dramatically.

You will have to develop your own Succession Planning Strategy and training package.

There is not very much material available for NGOs addressing succession planning and even less for small Community Based Organisations, or Refugee Led Organisations. The main body of work on Succession Planning is targeted at the business world. You will find a lot of information and training available for big business using your search engine. However, much of it is irrelevant to the humanitarian and development field. We have sourced a few good materials and readings developed for the NGO sector and you will find them below.

To determine what is needed in your organisation, or the WRLO you are working with, you will first have to conduct an audit of the skills, knowledge, experience and the needs of the participants and then design a training program to suit their specific needs.

To assist with this, we have provided some power point presentations on Women’s Leadership, Working with Interpreters, and Running Community Consultations.  The sessions on Collective Working, Consortiums and Governance are also directly relevant. These are in the Additional Resources section. ALL of the other modules in this Training Resource are relevant to Succession Planning.

Good luck building the program which is most appropriate to the needs of the organisation with which you are working.


To enable WRLOs to design succession plans and training programs for emerging leaders and staff.

Succession Planning – A useful definition

Succession planning is the process of selecting and developing key talent to ensure the continuity of critical roles. It’s about identifying top performers and potential leaders and mentoring and developing them so they can advance in the organization and move into top-level roles. (University of Washington Human Resources)

B. PowerPoint Slides

Once you have competed the exercises in Succession Planning, Assets and Needs Audit, you might want to use some of the materials in the Women’s Leadership Session, Working with Interpreters, and the Running Community Consultations Session.

C. Tools and exercises

Tools and exercises to use in Succession Planning with WRLOs are included in the PowerPoint Slides. You may find some of the material in this website useful:


D. Background Reading on Succession Planning

Please read these notes before running this training module.  They provide information which informs the PowerPoint slides, and might help you answer questions from Participants. 

They can also be given as Handouts.