Leadership transitions provide non-profits with the opportunity to re-examine their mission, vision and purpose. Even if the non-profit has functioned well under the outgoing executive, it is important for the Board to engage in “self-assessment” because onboarding a new leader will enable the non-profit to move into the future which will require the new executive to bring different skills and experience to the table.
Appoint an Interim Executive Director: Concurrently with the implementation of the hiring plan, the Board needs to appoint an Interim Executive Director to oversee the day-to-day operations and administration of the organization. The Board also should use this period to address any problematic issues, including staffing, to ensure that the new executive will be joining a well-run organization. The Interim ED can be appointed from internal staff or hired from outside the non-profit. If the Board decides to appoint a staff member to serve as the Interim ED, the Board should determine, in advance, whether or not the Interim ED can apply for the permanent position.
The Interim ED also can be hired from outside the non-profit through a consulting firm like Danosky & Associates. Danosky & Associates can provide these services to non-profits and assist in the development and implementation of the hiring plan. The advantage to hiring an outside Interim ED is that the outsider can be empowered to undertake a “spring cleaning” of the organization and resolve any existing problems, updating employee or operational manuals, and implementing programs and projects already planned in addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Using the Interim ED to resolve any difficult staffing issues ensures that the executive will not have to resolve these issues early in their tenure. The goal is for the new Executive Director to join an efficient, well-run non-profit.
The departure of a long-serving Executive Director may result in other key staff departures such as the Chief Financial or Chief Operating Officer or Development Director. The Board should be prepared for this eventuality. Hiring an Interim ED through a consulting firm, such as Danosky & Associates, can help the Board navigate these additional staffing departures.
Requiring new executives to address long-standing organizational problems often impedes their ability to be successful in the long term. The goal of hiring an Interim ED is to ensure that the new executive will be able to use their “honeymoon” period to learn the ins and outs of the non-profit: its culture, shadow staff to learn their jobs, meet Board members, donors and other key stakeholders and gain an understanding of the organization in order to develop a plan for its future needs.
Let us know if we here at Danosky & Associates can assist you in your leadership transitions.