MANAGING EXECUTIVE TRANSITIONS
The executive director just gave notice and you, as board president, are in a bind.
How do you proceed quickly and efficiently to replace the leadership? Using the professional services of Executive Transition Management can help in this demanding time for your organization.
Christine understands both the practical and emotional issues in an executive director transition, and provides objective and empathetic guidance that takes into consideration the impact of this transition on staff, board, donors and other supporters, the people served, and the community at large.
Christine will provide your organization with a roadmap to guide it through such change. With her help, your organization will identify the tasks to be accomplished, manage the emotional and behavioral stress, develop timelines, conduct a search process for hiring the best person for the job, and set the stage for the new executive director or CEO to be successful.
Why should your organization
use Executive Transition Management?
Change is never easy, but it can be positive in that it provides both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to make the transition as smooth as possible, with little disruption of the programs and services provided by the organization. The opportunity is to utilize the transition to evaluate the organization, set a clear direction, and choose new leadership that will move the organization forward with vigor and enthusiasm. Executive Transition Management reduces challenges and takes advantage of opportunities for the following reasons:
The nature of transitions.
Smooth, routine leadership transitions are rare, if not nonexistent, in community-based agencies. Many of the reasons are rooted in the resource-scarce, seat-of-the-pants culture of most small to medium-sized agencies, the vast bulk of the nonprofit sector. The departure of the executive director can also accelerate difficult staff issues or result in the loss of other significant staff members, as people become uncertain about their future with the organization.
The executive director role.
The nonprofit executive role demands an exceptional range of talents and often a work output of heroic proportions. There is no clearly defined career ladder leading to a nonprofit CEO position. So much of the leadership wisdom required by the job is learned on the job. Few agencies have the resources for grooming successors.
When the executive resigns, a community board is rarely equipped and experienced to do a thoughtful search for the right successor, let alone manage a smooth departure for the departing person, keep up staff morale through a frightening period, reassure donors and foundation program officers, and think through how they will help the next leader develop wisdom and endurance. As a result, the chances that an agency will lose ground in pursuit of its mission are high.
Beyond the dangers, there are opportunities. The feeling of "being unglued" that accompanies a leader's departure is the opening for new ways of doing business. Managed well, this transition can be a "time out" for updating the agency's vision. It can demand skill development by managers and board members. It can rejuvenate the organization with fresh ideas and new direction. A highly experienced and skilled "outside" person can minimize the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities for the organization.