Orders of succession are an important part of both day-to-day operations and an organization’s continuity of operations plan. Orders of succession provide for the orderly and pre-defined assumption of senior leadership positions in the event that senior leadership are unavailable, debilitated, or incapable of performing their duties, roles, and responsibilities. Strong and clear leadership is a fundamental pillar of success during a major emergency or disaster.
Orders of succession are especially important during emergency events, when portions of an organization’s personnel may be injured, incapacitated, dead, or simply stuck in a place without access to communication methods. By having a succession of people that is at least three people deep, your organization stands a better chance of continuing operations smoothly. If possible, having at least one of the individuals on the succession list be a person whose day-to-day job is at a different location than the main facility will also improve the smooth transition of leadership during an emergency.
The United States government has a clear line of succession were the president incapacitated, dead, resigned, or removed from office. Let’s take a little quiz to see if you know our government’s line of succession.
Place the following offices in order of succession to the President of the United States:
- Secretary of Defense
- Speaker of the House
- Vice President
- Secretary of State
- Secretary of the Treasury
- Attorney General
- President pro tempore of the Senate
Orders of succession are commonly found in governments and monarchies, but the principal is a solid concept for businesses, schools, and smaller organizations as well. Having a plan of who will be in charge and make decision in the event that current leadership is unable to do so is an important part of emergency preparedness.
(Answer: 3, 2, 7, 4, 5, 1, 6)