Creating a Community Succession Plan
Engaging the next generation of aspiring business and community leaders
Article by BRANDY RODTSBROOKS | Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce
Succession planning is a hot topic of conversation in boardrooms and businesses across our region. As the boomer generation prepares for retirement and Gen X and Y move into leadership positions, how do we cultivate the next generation of business front-runners to carry forward the great companies that support our local economy and Eugene as a community?
A quick Google search will deliver templates, consultants and thought-leaders with opinions to share as business leaders dive into succession planning. Building a thoughtful strategy to recruit and develop the next generation of managers for key roles in an organization makes good sense. As business leaders focus on succession planning for their individual businesses, what is the outlook for businesses and their support of their communities as a whole?
The truth is, doing business has changed a lot from one generation to the next. It was only a few decades ago that corporate social responsibility was considered a novel concept, with businesses innovating to align their practices to reflect a set of values that connected them to their community. Now, an entire generation has grown up with business and community alignment as a standard—a generation that is actively make purchasing decisions, career choices and volunteer commitments that support business and community integration.
As younger generations move into positions of leadership, the assimilation of business and community is shaping the way they engage. Many young professionals today are bringing with them a high level of enthusiasm, not only to the boardroom but also as they engage at city council meetings and when volunteering with local nonprofits. They are excited to collaborate, innovate and build their companies and cities. And, they want and need mentors.
This shift presents new opportunities, in terms of how we cultivate our next generation—not only for business success, but for building and sustaining a healthy community. What we need now, more than ever, is a thoughtful approach to community succession planning.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF COMMUNITY SUCCESSION PLANNING?
In Eugene, we are fortunate to have a community of diverse business leaders that spans several generations, who are actively engaged in moving forward a shared vision of our region. By taking a thoughtful approach to succession planning, we’re ensuring that our community will continue to grow and evolve.
HOW DO WE ENGAGE THE NEXT GENERATION OF COMMUNITY LEADERS?
Actively identify and create opportunities for future leaders in unexpected places. Ask yourself: Who are the ones already showing up to lend their voice and insights to move business and the community forward? How do we produce opportunities to position them for growth?
Encourage momentum for projects and programs that will help Eugene leverage the best growth opportunities ahead of us and overcome the barriers that have limited the pace of progress.
Pass along insights that will help the next generation of leaders find a better sense of balance between careers, civic engagement and community responsibilities.
Ensure that engagement continues in shaping our future community after the leaders of today retire, by getting young professionals involved now.
Promote smart decisions that will ignite innovations in business, social services and local government.
It’s important that we commit to paying attention to young professionals with a passion for this city and put opportunities in front of them to develop, strengthen and cultivate connections. Let’s leverage the innovations of the last several decades and create a legacy that will last far beyond our time in the boardroom.
LOOKING TO CONNECT WITH THE NEXT GEN?
The Eugene Chamber’s Young Professionals program is already engaging a new generation of aspiring business leaders. Join us at the YP Summit, on June 12, to meet the young professionals who are ready to step-up. Find out more at EugeneYPSummit.com
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