HILBORN RECOMMENDS...Losing your Executive Director without losing your way

publication date: Nov 7, 2012
author/source: Lisa MacDonald
In Losing your Executive Director without losing your way, authors Carol Weisman and Richard I. Goldbaum 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 transition. 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.

Internal succession planning

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.

External leadership

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 for only $38.99


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