publication date: Nov 7, 2012
author/source: Lisa MacDonald
In Losing your
Executive Director without losing your way
, authors Carol Weisman
and Richard I.
explain how Boards can bridge the gap between Executive Directors (ED)
and learn to use the transition period as a strategic opportunity.
In nonprofit organizations, leadership is shared between the
volunteer Board members and a paid professional. The Board represents the interest and values
of the community; the ED represents the management, professional expertise and
values needed to ensure that the organization's operations are of highest
quality and efficiency. As long as the ED fulfills the expectations of the
Board and vice versa, both leadership entities will thrive. However, as with
all good things, this relationship will eventually come to an end. This book
examines the reasons ED's leave and then discusses seven steps that can help
smooth the way from one leader to the next. For Weisman and Goldbaum, the first
step is - preparing for executive
In their words -
Boards usually have a plan for their own leadership
successions. But when it comes to knowing how to react to the departure of the
Executive Director, most nonprofit organizations have no plan at all. If the
departure is announced well in advance, the Board has time to draw up a plan,
conduct a search and hire someone new. But more often, an ED's departure leaves
too little time to go through all the steps needed to find the right person and
ensure a smooth transition.
The goal of every ED and Board should be to cultivate the
talent of the organization's staff - including developing a process that
enhances the leadership ability of every employee.
For effective succession planning, organizations also need
to think outside their own box. Many potential leaders in other organizations
should be kept on the Board's radar: Executive Directors, Board members or
middle managers of competing or complementary organizations. The pool of
candidates grows exponentially when the Board and ED work together to identify
leaders in other organizations.
The more potential leaders the Board can identify - both
internally and externally - the better prepared the organization will be for
the inevitable change.
Purchase Losing your Executive Director without
losing your way
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