The Strategic Value of Succession Planning for Department Chairs Journal Article


Authors: Rayburn, W.; Grigsby, K.; Brubaker, L
Article Title: The Strategic Value of Succession Planning for Department Chairs
Abstract: Most faculty who aspire to be department chairs are unaware of succession processes at their institution. This Commentary highlights the importance of succession planning, emphasizing the general need for transparency. Succession planning provides institutional leaders the opportunity to optimize, renew, and revitalize their organization by ensuring successful leadership transitions. In contrast to leadership pathways in the military, corporate business, and hospital administration, planned succession of medical school department chairs has received little attention.Different approaches to succession planning are essential for emergency and planned transitions. Emergency succession plans should be in place at all times, regularly revisited, and modified as needed. Department chairs should begin considering their planned succession between one and five years after their initial appointment. The succession discussion between a chair and medical school dean requires cautious, thoughtful, and open discussions. Intradepartmental annual faculty performance evaluations permit the chair to mentor potential successors in acquiring future-oriented, institution-based leadership qualities necessary to be considered for a future department chair position. If health and time permit, the successful chair should remain in his or her current position until a successor is named or, preferably, is in place. Appointment of an interim chair as part of succession planning can be useful for on-the-job training of an internal candidate, yet awkwardness might ensue if there is more than one internal candidate.Succession development offers the great advantage of maintaining smooth organizational performance while optimizing talent management and exploring opportunities for transitioning individuals into leadership roles.
Keywords: Urology and Obstetrics/Gynecology
Journal Title: Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Volume: 91
Issue: 4
ISSN: 1938-808X; 1040-2446
Publisher: Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges  
Date Published: 2016
Start Page: 465
End Page: 468
Language: ENG
DOI/URL:
Notes: LR: 20160329; JID: 8904605; ppublish