Having worked on CEO succession plans and processes for a number of organizations, I was intrigued this week when Pope Benedict announced that he was going to stand down. The Catholic Church has a clear process for selecting the next pope. Does your organization have in place a process should your top leader suddenly be unable to continue in his/her role? When it happens, the board needs to act decisively to name an interim leader, quickly launch a search, and communicate with confidence that the right steps are underway. You don’t want to have to think it through during what is often an emotional and confusing time for management, employees, investors, and the community.