School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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60 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 Succession planning is vital for the school bus industry (BY MICHAEL MARTIN) and he has worked with more than 350 organizations. I think these numbers, called our loyalty quotient, refect the fact that the work we do — all of us — is not just what we do, it is who we are. We have a deeply held commitment to not only the success of our endeavors but to each other. Those who come new to the industry realize quickly that it and we are not like most others — and I mean that in a good way. It seems entirely logical — obvious, even — that we should all be thinking about how best to ensure the success of those who will follow us. Think of suc- cession planning as pre-planning and it may make a lot more sense, even if it does not make it easier. It will help you manage the irrational, political and emotional dynamics of succession. Ask anyone who's ever been in the thick of a succession planning pro- gram. Or talk to any CEO who is faced with the prospect of "letting go." It's not for the faint of heart, and it can't be overlooked. It is essential. The wrong time to practice succes- sion planning is after you have lost a key player on your team. It can be costly and time consuming to replace a leader or contributor with specialized knowledge or competencies. Prop- er succession planning can go a long way toward mitigating a vacancy in a key position. It will also boost morale and retention by showing your organi- zation's intent to promote from within. The next generation of leaders in the pupil transportation feld is waiting in the wings. NAPT is therefore casting a wide net looking for rising stars. We are using Disney's "pipeline" approach to identify and develop talent at all lev- els of the organization, because it will make us better and stronger. Do you have what it takes to be one of our future leaders? My oldest daughter was hired earlier this year by the Walt Disney Co. She was one of a small group of accoun- tants offered the op- portunity to be part of what Disney calls "a cross-functional, enter- prise-wide learning ex- perience within the Ac- counting and Finance departments." Accord- ing to Disney, "The goal of the program is to create a pipeline of future fnance leaders for the company." My daughter's program includes four six-month rotations throughout accounting and fnance groups within key corporate segments. The rotations are designed to build technical and leadership skills need- ed to succeed in each segment of the company. As accountants, they learn in depth about operational/transac- tional accounting, fnancial reporting, audit and compliance, and fnance. Disney also wants them to be good communicators, so they receive train- ing to improve their presentation, writing, and other professional and management skills. Perhaps most importantly, Disney wants them to understand leadership, so each participant in this program has ongoing personal mentorship by a senior level manager; my daughter's mentor is the executive vice president of strategic planning. Needless to say, networking opportunities abound. Her mentor helps her meet regularly with senior leaders across the compa- ny — and she's just 23 years old! Disney is among the most admired companies in America for a reason. They think carefully and strategically about everything they do, including succession planning. Succession planning does not need to become a complex process practiced only by the largest and most sophisti- cated organizations, however. On the contrary, small- to medium-size orga- nizations — like most school transpor- tation departments — stand to suffer a greater loss if a key performer leaves unexpectedly. Believe me, your "best and brightest" talents will continue to become targets as competing organi- zations look to fll positions. The key concepts of smart succes- sion planning are recruitment, train- ing (for a current role), development (equipping an employee or group of employees for future roles and respon- sibilities) and career planning (identi- fying the interests of an employee and assisting that individual by providing personal development consistent with his or her talents and interests). Suc- cessful companies like Disney use a combination of mentoring, cross train- ing, job rotation and skill-set training to ensure that the right people are in the right place at the right time. Why is any of this important to you? Because the "average" NAPT mem- ber is about 50 and has about 20 years of experience in the industry, and is therefore likely to retire somewhere between 5 and 15 years from now. And, you are deeply committed to the continued existence and prosperity of our organization. We learned from our recent survey of your thoughts, opinions and atti- tudes that NAPT members are extraor- dinarily loyal. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents said they would recommend NAPT to a colleague. And, get this, 80% of lapsed members (people who did not renew their mem- bership this year for one reason or an- other) said the same thing. The consul- tant who helped us do the survey said he had never seen numbers that high, NAPT news & views Michael Martin is executive director of NAPT.

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