Many organizations, large and small, avoid the topic of leadership transition. In smaller agencies, the weight and expense of supporting a secondary leadership role are deterrents. In larger organizations, executives may avoid the issue for fear of compromising their authority and becoming “lame ducks.” With a little planning, these events that are usually associated with uncertainty and worry can actually help an organization to grow. The time and leadership commitment required for succession planning tend to deter volunteer boards, and the suggestion of a transition may cause apprehension in funders.
Executive transition management, or ETM, is a unique approach to reducing the risks and maximizing the potential of the active transition period. This brief highlights some of the concerns surrounding executive transitions and some of the ETM practices that can help overcome those concerns and make the experience one of growth.