AUTUMN 2012   
Autumn 2012 


Welcome to the Autumn 2012 edition of my Quarterly Newsletter. This issue focuses on succession planning and leadership and management development.It also introduces you to the blog I started over the summer which is meant for busy professionals and leaders who want brief reviews and links to the latest thinking on leadership and management, strategy, teams, nonprofits, and organizational health. If you find the posts to be useful, I hope you will consider subscribing.


As always thank you for reading, passing this along to others, and for your continued support in my growing consulting practice.


Have a great autumn. Be Happy Now.

Leslie Bonner

Bonner Consulting

forbes funds

The Forbes Funds Invites Nonprofit Staff and Board Members  to Attend

NOVEMBER 1, 8:00 - 10:45 AM

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA


RSVP to Benjamin Hemmings at


Facilitated by Leslie Bonner and Gay Fogarty, this workshop will focus on strategic leader development, emergency succession, and ensuring executive transitions in key positions throughut the organization.


Cohort Opportunity An application for participation in a Succession Planning cohort will be released at the seminar. Approximately ten executive directors will be identified to participate in the learning cohort designed specifically for Executive Directors preparing to transition out of the organization within the next three years and will entail a diagnostic, coaching plan, peer learning sessions and ongoing follow-up

Succession Planning: 5 Steps to Identify and

Develop Leadership Talent


roadmap     In a recent blog article I wrote about the importance of succession planning and leadership development for nonprofit organizations and to small and midsized businesses. Here I will describe the steps to identify, assess, and develop current leaders to ensure your organization's future. Although this process is equally useful for nonprofits and businesses, one significant difference does exist. In a nonprofit organization the Board of Directors has the responsibility to ensure proper succession and executive transition takes place. For businesses without Governing Boards, this accountability and champion role must fall to the top leader.


First let's clarify a definition of succession planning for those of you who are confusing this with replacing the departing CEO of an organization:


Succession planning is a structured process to ensure leadership continuity in key positions and to retain and develop knowledge, talent, and relationships for the future. The process ranges from identifying specific candidates to fill the top position, to developing talent with the capacity to be effective leaders in any number of positions in an organization.



The following articles recently appeared in my blog and are focused on topics that are key to Leadership or Personal Development.


Jerk vs. Wimp: Confidence as a Leadership Strength & Liability


Recently several articles have described the role of confidence in leadership. The articles, excerpted below, detail how too much confidence/assertiveness result in the perception of a leader as an egotistical jerk (men) or aggressive bitch (women) who does not play well with others. Definite career derailers in most organizations! A lack of confidence or aggressiveness, if perceived as shy, fearful, indecisiveness, or overly accommodating, is equally harmful to a leader's presence and effectiveness.

Discovering the right level of confidence for you requires getting objective feedback and developing your self-awareness. As one of the authors writes, the key to learning how to be more appropriately confident and assertive is to understand the organizational context, assess your behavior, and then make the appropriate adjustments.



Setting Performance Goals for Yourself or Your Team


I am currently working with 3 different clients on some aspect of setting employee performance or personal development goals and how these will be used to measure and reward employees. While all 3 organizations have slightly different issues they, as well as many of the organizations I have worked with in the past, struggle with setting the right employee performance goals, determining how to measure them, and getting employees to partcipate in setting goals.
It often surprises me how strongly employees at all levels resist setting their goals and resent when goals are set for them. It seems to me that by suggesting and/or participating in your own goal setting you have the opportunity to manage expectations and focus your work or personal development goals on something that is important, relevant, and realistic. If you have one ambitious, career-oriented, bone in your body you do what I describe below already and often unconsciously. Ask yourself: "What is the one really big thing I can do, learn, and show that will get me ____ (a promotion, more money, visibility, or responsibility). Who will I involve in helping me to set or reach this goal? Whose 'buy-in" do I need? How will I measure the goal and know if I am making progress? How will I make sure my progress and focus is visible to my boss?


7 out of 10 managers I work with admit that they don't like managing other people. Like much in life (e.g. losing weight, managing your time, etc.) it sounds easy, and you can "learn" how to do it by reading a book, or taking a class, or getting a coach. However once you start to apply the learning, you discover that all of the daily decisions and unique situations involved in managing others drains your energy and can be very frustrating. Learning is abandoned; coping and instinct take over with mixed results.

Struggle to Manage? Here is the most useful tool I've found.


Recent, relevant articles on Leadership Development and Succession Planning


15 Ways To Identify Bad Leaders  | Forbes 

"If you really want to determine someone's leadership prowess, give them some responsibility and see what they do with it. Leaders produce results. It's not always pretty, especially in the case of inexperienced leaders, but good leaders will find a way to get the job done.... Go ahead, test if you must, but paying attention to the following 15 items (listed in no particular order) will be much more practical, accurate, and effective"


Do You Really Want to Be a Leader? | Wall Street Journal 

 "Aspiring executives who wish to gauge their ultimate potential, or that of others, should ask instead: What level of leadership do they aspire to? And are they willing to invest the effort and make the sacrifices required to take on the responsibilities of the position?... Here are three questions that executives should ask themselves to assess their own leadership potential"


"When someone refers to a "succession plan", they are usually talking about one of three things
  1. A concept, idea, prediction, or hope, with nothing actually documented.
  2. A comprehensive set of documents, often used in formal Board of Director or senior leadership meetings, that include replacement charts for key positions, position profiles, performance and potential grids, development plans, executive profiles, competency models, company and talent management strategy, and other various documents. While smart companies have done their best to streamline these documents down to the essential few, many companies still refer to this ten pound stack of documents as "the book".
  3. A replacement chart, or template.

For number 3, here are the "data elements" that should always be included, along with instructions.

This blog is for busy leaders who want timely reviews and links to the latest thinking on leadership and management, strategy, teams, nonprofits, and organizational health,.

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