Heather M. Moore, MHA
Vacancies in leadership are inevitable; every leader, in every position, eventually will leave that position. Succession planning, recognized as a critical practice in the corporate world, provides significant benefits for both large and small businesses by proactively planning for vacancies. In hospitals, succession planning has become increasingly common as organizations recognize the stability and long-term benefits to leadership continuity. However, although succession planning has been studied in both large businesses and small-to-medium businesses in the corporate world, research has not filtered beyond hospitals in the world of healthcare. This article reviews the benefits of succession planning in both healthcare and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to draw conclusions about the benefits for physician practices. Based on those conclusions, it then outlines a four-step process that medical practices can use as a framework for succession planning. Healthcare SMEs have as much to gain or lose from leadership continuity as larger organizations.