Insurance Writing on the Wall

5 Leadership “Insurance” Plans – Is Your Organization Prepared?

For our health, we have insurance policies, but what about for your leadership? We’ve all seen sudden losses in leadership. Whether it is the tragic loss of life or a narcissistic move that undermines the leadership of an organization, we cannot plan for every leadership change. What insurance do you have against the sudden loss of key leadership?  I suggest some planning for your leadership  insurance:

Insurance Writing on the Wall1. Short Term Leadership Insurance

Consider how  you are protected during key transitions. What if that new leader does not work out? Short term health insurance is all about protection in a transitional or critical time. Short term leadership insurance should be the same. Have a backup plan. When key transitions occur, make it clear up front who “Number 2” is.

2. Long Term Leadership Insurance

If you don’t know clearly who would back-fill or replace each leader, you have a long term leadership insurance gap.

Your leadership engine is firing on all cylinders so there is nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. Just like in health, sudden changes may come. What is your pipeline and network of potential candidates like? If you don’t know clearly who would back-fill or replace each leader, you have a long term leadership insurance gap.

3. Disability Leadership Insurance

Whether for a sabbatical or similar extended leave, you need to plan for longer absences of leaders. Similar to your long term insurance, you need to know who can step in on a moment’s notice – with the understanding it is only for a period of time. Do you have team members up for this commitment?

4. Supplemental Leadership Insurance

Health insurance plans don’t typically cover all expenses. You may not always have a backup ready to step in for a specific leader, in a particular function. Who can you look to as a leader with broad, cross-functional experience or the flexibility to adapt to a new environment?

5. Life Leadership Insurance

Tragedies happen. In life, this may be an individual. In work, this may be a leadership team. Is your board connected enough and ready to handle any tragedy? It may not be as simple as a loss of life, but perhaps a wide-spread corruption issue. How would your organization start over, with a clean slate, if the life of leadership was lost?

Like your health, you may seem fine now, but nobody can predict the future. Even the greatest leaders fall – for a variety of reasons. You may have a fiscal responsibility to ensure financial insurance, but even more important, is how you prepare for these potential scenarios. What role are you taking, to ensure your organization has leadership insurance?

Question: What other ways can leaders and board members protect their organizations from sudden changes in leadership?


Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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