leadership transitions services

Examines career plans, job challenges and projected turnover among nonprofit executives.
Jeanne Bell
Richard Moyers
Tim Wolfred

"The board is the client for executive transition services. Trainings for board members must emphasize board ownership of this pivotal moment in an organization’s history and provide information on what good succession and transition planning look like."
Suzanne Maas
Gail Randall
Executive Director Tenure and Transition in Southern New England

Transition management
LT’s group of skilled transition consultants help nonprofit boards take advantage of the opportunities a leadership change presents. Transition management is a holistic process that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, finds common vision among board members and staff, and evaluates the performance and priorities of the organization.

Working with the board and staff, the transition consultant develops a transition plan that ensures proper functioning of the organization, continued service to clients, and maintenance of important relationships. The plan also addresses any organization changes needed to strengthen the platform for a new leader.

The transition consultant manages the recruitment process and sets the stage for a successful beginning for the new executive.


Executive search
The search for a new executive is a natural extension of the transition process. Understanding the challenges and future direction of the organization, LT searches for prospective candidates using targeted networking techniques and advertising, and leverages the networks of all board members and staff, as well as our own extensive nonprofit and foundation contacts.

We do the pre-interviewing, screening, reference checking, and present the candidates that have the skills and experience to lead the organization in the direction the board has approved. We provide transition committee maintenance and logistics coordination, including an interviewing schedule, that allows for impressions from board and staff.

Succession planning
A change in executive leadership is a challenge and an opportunity for every organization, no matter when it occurs. Planning for that change helps alleviate the risk involved at the time of an executive leaving. Many Boards and executives are preparing for that eventuality by creating a Succession Plan. They are learning that in the process they are strengthening the infrastructure of their organization and enhancing staff development; they are clarifying their direction and preparing for change.

As part of succession planning, the Board will become more conversant with the full range of the executive director’s daily activities than it has been in the past. In addition, the strategic plan will be updated to include key aspects of how to plan for the organization’s long-term stability, including how the functions of the executive director might change over time.

Leadership Transitions helps nonprofits develop three types of succession plans: strategic leader development, departure defined succession, and emergency succession plan.


Board development and succession
Successful nonprofits have a strong board chair, strong executive, and a healthy working relationship between the two. Careful planning for board leadership is as important as succession planning is for the chief executive. The board and board leadership that is needed for one stage of organizational life cycle may not be the board and chair needed for the next stage. As the organization develops, board structure and roles may need to adapt as well.

We provide governance assessment, coaching, and succession planning. We also assist with realignment of board/chief executive roles and relationships, especially as part of succession planning and transition. We work with the executive and board to build a partnership and strengthen leadership at all levels.
Interim executive directors
The interim executive quickly identifies the issues that could compromise the effectiveness of a nonprofit, addresses them with the board, and develops an operational plan that will relieve staff anxiety and prevent the board from becoming overextended.

The interim gives the finances of the organization immediate and thorough attention, connects with and builds the management team, and models a balanced role between the ED and board of directors. Working collaboratively with the transition consultant, the interim executive takes the challenges of a leadership transition and turns them into a time of creativity and opportunity for the nonprofit.


Strategic communications
The importance of good communication throughout a leadership change cannot be overstated. It is critical to a successful transition. Staff, funders, and clients will feel included in and connected to the leadership change if they are informed of progress, have opportunities to ask questions, and are given a chance to have input into the process.

Communications during a leadership change are different, and we refer to this type of communication as strategic. Rather than distributing the normal who/what/when/where type of information, strategic communication seeks to engage the audiences involved in transition and enlist their support for the emerging new reality of the organization.

Strategic communications are often targeted to specific groups and deal honestly with good news and not so good news. It addresses board decisions, as well as organizational attitudes and behaviors. Strategic communications give the audience opportunities to respond and have input into the transition process, and promises that the input will be heard.

Strategic communications tend to be shorter, tied to the objectives of the transition plan, and energizing to the targeted audience. Done well, strategic communications inspire creativity, relieve anxiety, and help the nonprofit maintain focus during a time of uncertainty.

LT supports client organizations with all forms of strategic communications – print, internet, presentations, and discussions.
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