Little Red Bus — Your Vehicle for Building a Stronger Governing Board
The Search for a New Leader
Jean has been the driver of the Little Red Bus for the past 12 years. Over that period of time, she has worked very closely with the passengers in determining where the bus was to travel and she has had an outstanding record of operating the bus in a safe and efficient manner. She has done an outstanding job.
Last Tuesday, at a specially-called meeting with the passengers, Jean announced that it was time for her to move on. She was ready to retire and planned to do so in six months.
After the initial shock of losing Jean began to wear off, the passengers faced a big question: who will replace her?
Satisfying the need for addressing the anxiety felt by the passengers, a decision was quickly made that Zack, the man who kept the bus in tip-top shape, would become the next driver.
Problem solved — or was it? After Zack assumed his new duties, the passengers came to realize that the skills necessary to be a good bus mechanic were not the same as the skills necessary to be a good bus driver.
Although Zack was a great mechanic, he lacked the skills necessary to work with his passengers and drive the bus in a safe and efficient manner. Zack's tenure as the bus driver lasted but a short period of time.
Organizations in need of new leadership too often automatically turn to a current staff member to fill the leadership role. Forgotten is the fact that the skill set required for one position may not be the skill set required of the organization leader. Furthermore, hasty promotions from within can send a message to all that convenience has trumped thoughtfulness, not a good way for a new leader to take the reins.
Decisions regarding new leadership must take into consideration the primary challenges that the organization is facing. The goal is to find the best next leader within a time frame which allows for a thoughtful process.
Questions for consideration:
- What are the highest priorities of the organization which the new leader must address?
- What leadership characteristics are of prime importance to the organization in addressing current and emerging priorities?
- What are the necessary elements of a fair and open search process — what is the plan?
- Is interim leadership a good choice allowing the organization to deal with current issues and/or supporting a well-planned and well-executed search process?
Need help with board development?
Contact Jim Storm at email@example.com or 612-379-3817.