The purpose of this exercise is to raise your board’s awareness of the need to prepare for a sudden departure or unavailability of a key leader. It should also give you a good start in identifying your current leader’s abilities that are critical to the operation of your organization.


This exercise is in two parts.

• Part 1 is designed for your board members to complete:
Make and distribute a copy of the handout to each board member at your next board meeting. Take 10 minutes and ask the board to thoughtfully answer the questions.

• Part 2 is for your key leader(s):
Distribute the questionnaire to your key leader(s) and ask that it be completed within two weeks. Although this could take a significant amount of time, ask them to try to complete it in less than an hour with short answers. At a later point this can be expanded upon.
– OR –
Have one of your board members sit down with your key leader(s) and fill out the form together.

Full instructions and the worksheet available here as a PDF. 


After both parts are complete, ask someone to compile and summarize the information for each question. Then, bring the summary back to a board meeting. This should be a good starting point in developing an Emergency Succession Plan. It may be an excellent project for a committee.