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'Change is inevitable' Succession Planning with B&G Partners

04 Apr 2024

'Change is inevitable' Succession Planning with B&G Partners

Back in October, we welcomed B&G Partners to host a session on Succession Planning at our annual Cultural Governance Conference. The session was a hit and we received lots of feedback to extend this session and to take a more in-depth look at the topic of Succession Planning.

We are delighted to welcome back Ben & Gerald back by popular demand, for our latest event Succession Planning for Non-Profits. This workshop is for nonprofit leaders and Chairs and it provides an opportunity to share your own perspectives, to learn from others and to discover how to shape a plan that will succeed. 

We invited Ben & Gerald to tell us more about why Succession Planning is so important for organisational governance in our guest blog below.

Founders, leaders and board members of arts organisations put huge energy into their set-up,  establishment and maintenance.  There is an investment of passion, time and resources that often creates a powerful emotional bond between them and their organisations that can grow deeper over time.  Without this commitment, these organisations wouldn’t keep going and probably wouldn’t exist in the first place.

Change, however, is inevitable - and if we have learnt anything from the last few years then it’s to expect the unexpected.  The ongoing precarity of funding and broader challenges in our sector means that having a plan for change in your organisation, both at executive and board level, becomes essential.  

When we piloted our Succession Planning workshop last Summer, we had a hunch, based on our experiences as both CEOs and founders of arts organisations, that there might be interest in it.  We know that we would have benefited from something like this: to help us mitigate the risks and maximise the opportunities arising from this kind of organisational challenge and change.  Since then, every time we advertise it, it sells out.  We believe this indicates the need for participants to have the space to think, share and confront the inevitable anxieties and emotions that come up.  It also provides practical steps in how to come up with a plan and, when it’s needed, to put it successfully into action.  For some participants, the process feels more like “future-proofing” the organisation: creating a culture across the organisation that helps make it more open and adaptable to change as a whole.

Unlike in “Succession” the award-winning serial drama, succession planning in reality is rarely sexy or exciting (if it is, you’ve probably got something very wrong …)  We recently worked with Kevin Osborne, the inspirational founder of two creative enterprises, who posted this on his LinkedIn page.  We feel he sums up the process very well:

“The last 4 years has been a real experience of succession for me, stepping away from the day to day running of two organisations I founded: Create Equity and MeWe360.. No global empire to fight over here; no huge financial inheritance, no power to influence world events; these are two small Black-led social enterprises, working together as a collective. Trust me when I say our process of succession had no less drama for that, because beliefs can be more closely held and fought-over than material wealth. Coming to a shared set of beliefs and values is vital work when managing a process of succession. It takes time. It needs careful attention. This didn’t happen with the Roy family, that was the tragedy which made (“Succession”) such compelling viewing. Having been years in the making, the first in-person meeting of our collective was an exciting moment for me. The conversation was rich and fruitful, as we worked together to articulate the shared beliefs and worldview that underpinned our social mission. The process of sharing beliefs that were once ‘mine’ but through the afternoon became ‘ours’ felt special, almost an act of communion. It was another type of succession and, for those taking things forward, another type of inheritance. I was left speechless with emotion at the end.”

If you’d like to start this organisational conversation, please join us on the 12th April for our workshop with A&B NI. Succession Planning for Non-Profits Tickets, Fri, Apr 12, 2024 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite 

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.