Human Enterprise Development
Transition to New Leadership
A mid-size private volunteer organization with an annual
budget of $500,000 is beginning to implement a five-year plan
to transition management responsibilities from its founder
to a senior management team. Gail Fisher's goal is to help
the founder and management team find ways to hold one another
accountable for meeting company goals, sustaining positive
energy, and assuring staff competence during the unfolding
The management team needs to begin to make critical decisions
along with, and eventually in place of, the renowned, charismatic,
and highly-respected founder.
The founder has a forceful personality and the company has
demonstrated a great deal of creativity and resiliency over
more than 10 years. It is important to be certain that the
founder can support and promote the changes to be made during
the transition. Management team members must not only demonstrate
skills that inspire confidence in the founder, but also show
they have confidence in their own abilities to grow the organization.
It is critical to understand how the company developed and
to ascertain current company strengths and successes. As a
result, Resources for Change holds a series of meetings which:
- Give the founder an opportunity to share with current
senior managers an historical timeline of the company's
- Offer individual team members time to address their personal
histories with the company, the changes they had experienced,
their own skill sets, and how they hope to continue to shape
the organization to achieve the founder's vision.
The meetings raise two types of issues: pride in the accomplishments
of the management team and staff, and also the current concerns.
The concerns are subsequently managed by the team, which results
in new energy in the organization. The management team also
develops a new set of processes that both the team and the
founder approve. The founder's vision is affirmed and the
mission of the organization renewed.
One Year Later
A management team member selected by his peers is the new
CEO. The founder and several new board members, who possess
critically needed talents, now sit on the expanded board.
The organization - vibrant through some of the expectedly
rocky months of the initial transition - is settling in, yet
is also clearly revitalized.