Everyone agrees that succession planning is one of the CEO’s and board’s most critical responsibilities; in fact, a recent article published by The Bridgespan Group highlighted it as by far the No. 1 organizational concern for US nonprofits. Yet all the studies suggest that nonprofits and their boards grossly neglect this all-important task. What is the disconnect?

We’ve seen that many nonprofit leaders avoid succession planning because of the anxiety and painful misunderstandings they fear it will create. And, this high emotional charge rests, in turn, on prevalent misunderstandings about succession planning.

The key to succession planning success is to acknowledge the anxieties and reframe understandings of succession planning. Our newest thought piece Succeeding with Succession, recently published by Bridgespan, offers insights from our work to help nonprofit leaders understand and tackle these obstacles–and to create a positive, productive environment for moving succession planning forward, and producing a palpably stronger organization.