“Succession planning is a way to tame the chaos”. -Gloria Coleman

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BIO – Gloria Coleman PMP, PSM, PHR, SHRM-SCP

Gloria is the founder of High Spades Consulting LLC, which is a consulting business focused on transforming organization systems and aligning them to be more streamlined in their workflow processes. Having worked across various industries, she has gained extensive organizational development experience and skills to propel her in a fast-paced world. Her professional stamina lies across the fields of HR Consulting, Project Management, Healthcare Consulting, and Educational Consulting. With over a decade’s involvement in her career path, she has also earned a proven track record of excellence in Strategic Planning, Process Optimization, Risk Management, Enterprise Implementations, Succession Planning, amongst others.

Gloria’s experience and knowledge have brought great delight to numerous businesses across multiple industries. As a professional, she is also dedicated to seeing these clients become informed. She creates designs that pragmatically, incrementally, and safely introduce knowledge, change, and project methodologies to best suit any establishment. Gloria is goal-oriented, professional, driven, resourceful, and passionate about innovation. She strives to be a valuable consultant who provides detailed solutions and contributions that bring goals to fruition.


00:13:28 – What is the one thing that’s holding people back from greatness right now in their organizations?
00:14:26 – How we could ensure the future of our nonprofits? What could we do differently?
00:19:44 – The actual cost of losing a fundraiser or keeping them
00:23:18 – What is transactional HR and why should you move beyond it?
00:24:30 – Why NOW is the right time to do succession planning or business continuity planning
Who do you make responsible for the succession planning?
00:35:34 – How to get in touch with Gloria Coleman and start the succession planning process
00:38:46 – 5 questions to ask yourself

Gloria Coleman

Gloria Coleman

Mazarine Treyz: Hey everybody, welcome to the name it Podcast. I’m your host mazarine treyz and today I have the pleasure and privilege of introducing Gloria Coleman of highspades.consulting and I had the pleasure of working with her last year, I feel like your leadership just went so well in that circumstance, and I can’t thank you enough for what you taught me and what you shared with me. And so, Gloria, I have been a little bit vague, but who are you and why would people come to you?

Gloria Coleman: Well, thank you. Thank you for the introduction. I actually enjoy working on that project with you. I am the founder of high spades consulting started here in Portland, Oregon. I’ve worked in healthcare retail automotive. I’ve done everything to either help you grow your employees or let them go.

So everything when it comes to succession planning on getting organizations restructured, and I would say that’s the biggest thing is that people want to manage their human capital, because they understand that assets.

The human part of any business the assets capital. The app is the ones that bring in those fundraising dollars that will make or break an organization, so that’s that’s what people come to me for either the HR training or they want to grow their employees.

Mazarine Treyz: You help people with right sizing their organizations and finding out what needs to happen to keep them going. Despite loss of human capital.

Gloria Coleman: Yes, despite loss and it really starts out with understanding where their HR where their HR strategy is, and a lot of businesses don’t have

Gloria Coleman: What I want to say they don’t have like organizational developers that look at the business strategy and say okay, how does our human capital. How are, how are people going to get us there. Might not be with the current set of individuals anything those the current set might not have the training to lead where that organization is going. You think about nonprofits. You know, most of them want to grow, who is saying, Do we have the right leadership, maybe this five years from now 10 years from now?

Gloria Coleman: Who can really step in and do we have any type of confidence because there’s a big financial impact of just not having the right leadership.


What is the one thing that’s holding people back from greatness right now in their organizations?

Gloria Coleman: honestly, it’s this, it’s the leadership. It’s the leadership. I mean, we’re when you have great leaders that are looking at the whole life. You’re I think about what’s holding people back people lead by example and when they don’t see leaders doing the things that they said that they are going to do. Following through and being transparent, that’s the biggest thing nobody, you’re not going to be able to build that organizational culture when you don’t have that leadership structure and some of them are still very Hierarchical they’re not matrix. They’re not flat. So when it comes to even speaking out in seeing things. If it’s not coming from the leadership coming down. There’s not a lot of people that that are feel comfortable with managing up In speaking and just calling things for what they are.



So how could we ensure the future of our nonprofits? What could we do differently?

Gloria Coleman: That’s the biggest thing I would say to start off doing their from the is making it a mandate of the board. The board is for nonprofits, um, they have that responsibility financially. Ensure that those CEOs or the Executive Officers are not just meeting their fundraising goals, but I’m keeping up like keeping everybody. I’m not everybody happy, but it has to start with the board, the board has to tie it to some type of performance. Of that CEO or that executive director, because they are not exempt from performance management. And so I think that having a performance management or even talent. A good talent system in place Where they can use the right technology. They have the dashboards, where you can come back and say, you know, 2% of your bonus- 10% of your bonus or pay is based on say, having a succession plan or ensuring that you have the right successor, and we’re going to hold you accountable for that. That’s where it really starts because if you are an executive director that isn’t the best that board has to have a reason to they have to have some type of proof and data to get rid of that person. You don’t want employment law since you don’t want where you’re being as friend.


Why aren’t people doing succession planning?

Gloria Coleman: Honestly, it takes time. It takes time. It’s part of like a I mean, not just the annual like strategy, but it’s on its ongoing and nobody wants to talk about retirement or leaving A lot of what I want to call these both their knowledge workers if you’re in one of these, I would say high level positions but any key position within the organization is critical. So much knowledge that can be given to you in transition to the next person. Nobody wants to think about planning for one Gloria leaves this role, I’m going to have to get my role to mastery, um, you know, and I, you know, I’m not leave for two years, but a lot of people don’t think about How good that can help row people. It’s not just about replacement is also about the growth in somebody else that you’re mentoring or sponsor within your organization to take some type of lateral position. Or even horizontal temporarily taken on a project to speak with their interest level is it does. It takes time and nobody can provide that constructive that can have a real system of This is working. This isn’t working. Where can we grow and develop it costs money. It does it cost money, good training program. You don’t want to just train Our internal talent for them to leave and go elsewhere. And so that’s why it’s that constant conversation.

00:17:19.830 –> 00:17:24.540
Gloria Coleman: Sometimes leaders don’t want to be told the truth. I think that’s a fallacy that you know organizations have that they have these people that are high performing, you might think everybody who is high performing is ready for promotion and not everybody within an organization is ready for promotion and they might not even want the promotion 10 does not having the right people in the right sequence ID for the organization, but not good for your roles.

00:17:45.030 –> 00:17:51.150
Mazarine Treyz: You know, Gloria. I’m so glad you brought that up because that’s one of the things that I feel like leaders feel like they don’t have time to have that conversation with people, but it’s a drum I’ve been banging for many years about Finding someone’s strengths with the strengthsfinder, ask them, What do you really like to do, what do you not like to do, and as Peter Drury said in our fundraising career conference in 2018, The conversation he has with people. As soon as they’re hired as he sits them down and he says, Where do you really want to be in five years, and how can I help you get there?

Gloria Coleman: And that’s powerful. That’s powerful. I mean, The communication when they say along the line of everything, where things happen and don’t work out a lot of it is communicate, it’s the not being transparent in just being transparent with organizational goals like if we have a goal to get to, I don’t know, reach a million dollars in the next year tha tYou want that synergy throughout the organization. you don’t even want the people that are not in what I want to say like the C level positions, though, if they have a customer facing in internally. Going might be losing people they don’t even because it just for morale at that level, until, until they actually know and understand that what they’re doing is tied to an initiative. We’re tied to a program Will start to feel like I’m actually creating some value. What I’m doing me not think about employees that just sometimes job abandoned. And don’t show up, you know, or people who leave companies and taking intellectual property and start their own company, it can be taken a good chunk of your people. Those, those are things that you won’t make those goals when when you don’t have people aligning and understanding that I’m doing this because I’m creating value because I want to help us meet that goal. Like, it should not. It shouldn’t be a secret. Now, I do believe that there’s things that can be talked about. But we’re organization is going to be creating next year that that’s your community internally and sharing of knowledge that should just come out of magic.

Mazarine Treyz: I agree with you. And I think what a lot of leaders don’t realize is the actual cost of losing a fundraiser or keeping them and so according to Penelope Burks donor centered leadership research. If you have turnover in your fundraising department for three years running it costs 117% of what that person makes every year To replace them. So if they make 50,000 and you do the math. It can cost upwards of $600,000 If your nonprofit has consistent turnover. So if you’re not asking these questions. They seem like fluffy nice questions, but they’re really actually quite important to save your nonprofit money. And then the benefit if you have someone stay for three years. According to Penelope Burks donor centered leadership book is over $500,000 that’s not including the donor relationships and everything like that. So, The benefits are there and the drawbacks are severe. If you do not pay attention to succession planning. So, um, why is it. Last on the list for people. I mean, how do you carve out the time for it.

Gloria Coleman: Well, let me just start off by saying the money you talking about it. It’s chump change, but that’s it. Who cares if it’s half a million, we have that!
But really putting putting those dollars into fixing some of it. It’s just not having that HR that internal by true HR structure that’s more strategic that can Help guide and make those decisions and say hey person left, this is really what it’s costing us or would it potentially could Just replace a new employee. Like, I think they said the percentage like 10 about 16% when you are just in the interview, like people want those meetings and taking time I’m in your question. Like why Last on the list. I think because it’s I would honestly say they don’t have the right HR leadership, I think, at times, because that’s where HR comes in, he has to work for the business, but we’re also for doing the right thing and really having a good HR program to drive.

Gloria Coleman: To session performance reviews talent reviews. I mean, the onboarding employees, the right way do an exit interviews. So then you can collect that data and information that is what I think these Organizations are looking to their HR leaders to help guide them like we have facts and data like what we’re doing is not is not new. It’s really having somebody to drive and say, I’m coming in as a business partner to help drive it. In this what you need in this is the metrics and data I how I can support you with HR should be one of the first, let him take this is some standard Templates. This is what this person is doing and how much they should be getting paid, is why they left because we found this out the right investigations, so I mean, and that’s at all levels of the organization. I think that’s really why they’re not carving out the time because there’s nobody internally to drive.

Mazarine Treyz: Yeah, a lot of small nonprofits don’t have an HR person they try to outsource it, but it’s really difficult to make the case. It’s like succession planning seems like the cherry on top.

00:22:52.770 –> 00:23:00.540
Mazarine Treyz: But if we have a turnover rate in our nonprofits of six to 12 months in Canada for fundraisers and 12 to 18 months in the US for fundraisers this problem isn’t going to go away. And we’ve just told you how much it’s going to cost to solve it. If you don’t do this and I, unlike the drain for the 300, you know, the three years in the $600,000 succession planning and cost considerably less than that.

Gloria Coleman: It truly it truly does. And I think the outsourcing that the that they do, which is great, but he’s still looking at what what I call transactional type of HR, but we’re just going to be hiring get a policy in place. You know, give this person their last paycheck type of thing. I mean those real strategic HR and doing it. HR does take time. You need somebody I honest sometimes for like either embedded in the organization or even working with like the operational Director really partner and bridge that gap when you’re not there as an internal HR company that that’s being outsourced don’t really understand the organizational culture. You don’t you you hear about it, but you don’t. So in and you can’t really manage by stage that you have to manage by having the right data. And that means getting everybody up to the confidence levels that they need to be the singles roles that they’re in.

Mazarine Treyz: Mm hmm. So I completely agree with you. Gloria and I really feel so grateful that you’re sharing this today. This is a problem that people don’t realize they have. It’s not just about fundraising and it’s not just about HR. It’s about honestly it’s about the long term ramifications of having no policy in place. I mean, especially during covid 19 many people are being forced to retire. Or people are downsizing unexpectedly. So why is it especially important now to do succession planning.

Why is this is the right time to do succession planning or business continuity planning?

Gloria Coleman: With Covid-19 I think it’s made people realize that we all need to have a business continuity plan in place. If you don’t even want to call it succession planning is really about business continuity is like, what do we mean in case this into my mind is like a natural like global crisis crisis that a lot of people didn’t plan for so just remain operational. Who needs to be there. And you’re right, the people, these people are retiring. How do you take somebody that has 20 years of knowledge. Now, how does it happen maybe a are, you know, God forbid, but maybe you have fallen victim, hospitalized and you don’t have a plan in place just starting off with some business continuity, not even Going to replace who but I think good organizations you really start thinking that out. It’s just about. It’s about advanced planning. Planning for the worst. Like if you don’t make your numbers this year. How are you going to sustain your organization. And that’s what when I think about COVID-19, Why it’s really important. Not all these words, not everybody in a person workforce is going to come back and be and I want everybody to come back. I think this is great time. Well, look at the workforce plan like you know you had to let go, I don’t know 25 people. Do you really want all of these people to come back. So who is essential. Always keep actually coming back. And how are those key people that are coming back or how are they going to be compensated. I don’t think employees want to come back To do the job of two to three pools still at the same. Hey, I mean, there has to be level Of fitness. I mean, so there’s employees that are looking at this is perfect time of the month employment. Do I even want to go back to the job during COVID. I mean, there’s a risk. Risk to Just to lose in that knowledge into intelligent, especially if they’re not using the right technology and other personal laptops now and storing everything on their desktop. You might not even get access to those things that you eat, so it’s going to take the more time business back up and running. And that’s just The matter. I mean, a big I’m a big advocate of, you know, using HR. HR systems out, you kind of information systems or even technology systems. But having just continuous process improvement in all areas of the business. To run operationally, you want to be able to have access to that data whether they’re in the office or not in the office, but make sure that it belongs to that company and not on somebody’s desk, they can easily delete. And that’s happened before. I’ve, I’ve run into that where you you come back, you’re recreating the wheel, because that last person was upset love unexpectedly, and they were the only ones who had Access to something that you need. So now here you are starting from scratch that takes even more time.

Mazarine Treyz: I’ve seen it. You know, I’ve seen it in organizations that decide to fire a fundraiser on a whim, or they decide to lay someone off without any notice and the fundraiser just gets upset and takes all their toys and goes home.  You need to have structures to have that be less of a likelihood. If you care about the future of your organization.

Gloria Coleman: Know in in that invite to save the leap. I think making swift decisions. Sometimes that’s another thing we’re organizations makes with decisions without thinking if I let go of Gloria right now would do I would do I lose what what kind of vulnerabilities, like what How much does it impact us and I think taking that step back and say, Is it, you know, she going to sue because we’re not doing it the right way. I mean, yes, Oregon is at will state, but not all states or I will just Add a little doesn’t mean that I can’t know say claim discrimination or that I was treated unfairly. So really do gotta get out even when you’re letting go with people, for good reason. And that’s because training plans and performance really comes in place, letting go of the fundraising director, because they’re not fitting the culture, you still need to kind of look at, okay, well, If they’re meeting the mark and all these other areas, maybe you do need maybe and now we’re going to get this person some training and Probationary period or whatever you want to call it. We have been a reason to let them go because either they met them or they didn’t meet Mark and then you have data to cover cover what I was what I call him like hrs that’s that’s a risk.

Mazarine Treyz: It is risk.

Gloria Coleman: Of not doing it the right way and not having the right policies in place.

Why do people not speak up and say something when the future planning isn’t happening?

Gloria Coleman: I think it’s fear. I think the biggest thing is is fear and not being empowered to speak up. To what I want to say like this old way of thinking that managers and you WHEN DO YOU EVER, call your manager out when you have those real one on one constructive conversations always coming down. So unless you have I would say like this credibility and already trust throughout the organization that when we’re in meetings we can call out what we think is wrong. Employee surveys, like those engagement service level there’s nothing in smaller organizations. They can tell you a lot  They can just for taking the time to do the survey and even getting the results back and having people realize that We did the survey. We got some results and be based on this. We’re going to do something about it. I think it sounds so when people don’t speak up because I said this before, three months ago, six months ago, a year ago and nothing has changed. Why am I speaking up again as an employee. Why would I speak up. Nobody wanted anything with that information. And I think that’s one of those things too, like, no, they have to really care. I mean, the Organization really has to care and spend more time gauging that what I want to call it the organizational polls. What is, what is the pulse pulse of our of our culture. Do people even like being here.

Mazarine Treyz: Right. You know what, that’s the thing. I had a situation with a client, where you know her boss was a Pleaser and I was coaching her and her boss would never tell her. Give her honest concrete advice on what to do. And she was feeling very rudderless and not sure how to win and her job. And so, I realized I had to coach the boss. But then he didn’t want to be coached and so he didn’t know about fundraising. He didn’t want to know about it. And it was a shame because they waste a lot of they waste an entire year. And, you know, she was able to fundraise but it was not as successful as it could have been with his active participation and You know that’s something that would come out in succession planning. What are the metrics for his job. What are the metrics for her job. How do we make sure that these are being met. It’s not just going to be about what does he personally feel like doing as the CEO or executive director. He Is responsible for fundraising. It is not optional.

Gloria Coleman: No, no. I mean, I think having those kind of conversations with nonprofits. It’s the board and mean. And I think the board has that power and they really do have that due dilligence To basically then enforce. Somebody has to be the enforcer. Because if not, then things aren’t going to get done. I mean, we’re all bound by some type of governance and I think that’s one of the things Some of the organizations don’t do is have some type of governing body where they’re, you know, the CEO or these high level people aren’t just the end all be all know, the board has that right and authority to say this is what it is. It’s okay to have some kind of conflict, but you need to comply.


Who do you make responsible for the succession planning?

Gloria Coleman: In a nonprofit organization. It is an executive director is the executive director indoor the CEO. They are the ones that are responsible in When you add would you put this on the list of everything else that they’re responsible for if they don’t know how to do it. That’s when you bring in your HR people. That’s when you even have a team.
Gloria Coleman: Of people collaborate to do it and create these communities of practice where this is something we’re all tasked with doing Leadership Development out any company, whether it’s nonprofit or not is the responsibility of of the managers of the managers of those directors of the board to enforce and make sure that it’s being done.
Gloria Coleman: Like it’s optional. And I think that’s what we keep doing it. Keep making it optional. It’s not optional.
Gloria Coleman: It’s all yeah
Gloria Coleman: It’s no different than having a mission and a vision in some type of, you know, you know,
Gloria Coleman: Regular operational expenses like nobody wants to stay status quo into in order to actually grow, you have to put this in your annual have to keep it a top of mind, as far as vision and whether that’s quarterly or biannually, it has to be accounted for.

Any parting thoughts?

Gloria Coleman: Succession planning, I see it as a way to tame the chaos. I mean, I think that’s The biggest thing is about taming chaos, where this person has got a role in it like people growing. I mean, every most people do want to grow. And so when you don’t think that there’s a career for you somewhere. That hope or when you think that measuring has gotten this position, and how does she get it in risk culture and morale. I mean, I, I might be one of those people that are getting the training, going to the conferences, develop and then take my talents or a whole nother company where you’re like, oh, I was already preparing this person. And now we invested on know we helped her get her MBA, all of those things. I mean, next week, we’re not having a conversation on like this is a place that I really, really want to be when I really In that instance It’s going to be chaotic sometimes. Sometimes people don’t think about the chaos and just having a bench good companies have a bench and can always An external person that come in and understand the culture. And this is why you should grow, you can grow your employees that don’t want to be here in five ways to let them go find ways Are there to see that don’t Possibly have skills that would be better used somewhere else. So I think that’s the biggest thing is, nobody wants to be at a stalemate as a as an individual or as an organization, and that’s why it’s, I will say it’s definitely important. And it takes on the chaos tamer


00:35:34.650 –> 00:35:43.440
Mazarine Treyz: Well, in this time of so much on instability and uncertainty. I feel like if we want to have more of a measure of control of our organizations and think about the future of our organization succession planning. Thinking about scenarios. A, B, and C scenario planning can be extremely valuable. So, Gloria. That’s what you do. How do people get in touch with you?

Gloria Coleman: They get my say my website. It’s WWW.highspades.consulting I have on there where people can Book a free consultation with me and we go over, like what are the  Points where you really want to focus on a lot to do. And so what we do. I mean it from there. I mean, I help people prioritize. You can tackle it all and you can’t tackle. Gloria Coleman: Every position, but at least one an audit to see where you’re at some type of assessment Earth, and then I’d make recommendations. That’s all I can do as a as an external party and as a business partner make recommendations will prioritize we put some costs into the metrics and we see how it goes from there and we do constant reassessment and evaluation to see what’s working and not working.

Mazarine Treyz: I love that. I love that Gloria, thank you so, so much. I feel like you have a wealth of knowledge that nonprofits are desperately in need of right now, nonprofit leaders, especially if the word succession planning makes you scratch your head, Call Gloria up!

Gloria Coleman: For the nation’s termination as she thought a termination is all about employee transitions. I mean, no matter if it’s if they’re leaving or internal i mean it’s it’s really employee transitions me, you want it. You want it done in a smooth way as possible. It doesn’t always happen you know it doesn’t always have to be chaotic and that’s what I tell people it doesn’t have to be chaotic, we can plan for this. And I think scenario planning is fun having those sessions of planning, like, you know, for the worst. And for the best, those are those are fine, because as soon as it happened you like, hey, I already have something I’ve already met mentally will better when we’re a little bit more prepared and organized

Mazarine Treyz: So you can do this work, virtually doesn’t. You don’t have to be in person.

Gloria Coleman: Oh, definitely virtual. Yes, yes.

Mazarine Treyz: Great, good to know that no matter when it is whether we’re in quarantimes or out of quarantimes you can be there.

Gloria Coleman: More and more consultants are getting there, and I’m one of those ones that I’m an early adapter where I want you to see all the work that I’m delivering behind the scenes and have dashboards that you can check to see if things are at and even where I can help hold the team accountable with the like what I would call like Agile project management.

00:38:46.650 –> 00:38:56.910
Mazarine Treyz: That’s fantastic Gloria. It sounds like you’re really taking a business mindset and able to apply it to nonprofits. So I’d like to leave people with the last few questions.

Ask yourself,

  • Why are we not having conversations with employees to prime them to move to the next stage of their careers?
  • Why are we not internally cultivating leaders?
  • Why are we not auditing people’s jobs?
  • What are the risks of not auditing people?
  • What could impact us getting to our goals and what are our vulnerabilities?


Gloria can help you answer all of those questions.

Gloria Coleman: I sure can.

Mazarine Treyz: Yay. Well, I can’t wait to hear more your presentation if it will learn a lot more in depth about succession planning there. Thank you again so much Gloria.