Focus on continuity planning, not succession planning.

Be prepared for an unexpected catastrophe. The CEO is hit by a truck. The Board Chair dies. A key staffer is charged with a crime (wrongfully, of course) in another state and is not allowed to leave.

There needs to be a plan to ensure the organization will continue operating without interruption.

But be wary of locking in leadership over a long period of time.

If, for example, the Board Chair is elected to a three year term and so is the Chair-elect, you will be stuck with those folks for the next six years.

What if you want to change direction? What if you no longer want that person to be the successor? What if your industry or profession experiences major changes and a different type of leader would be preferable?

And don't promise the CEO position to a current staffer. What if you don't want that person when the time comes? What if a better choice can be hired from the outside?

Always keep your options open.