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 transition.

Key Issue
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 development.
  • 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.

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Case study in Human Enterprise Development - transition to new leadership
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