Facilitate the succession from founder to successor

The founder of a growing nonprofit gets ready to pass the baton

CONTEXT

The founder of a nonprofit organization, whom we had been coaching around strategic and operational issues, had built the nonprofit from idea to proof of concept: Program areas and funding were firmly established, the social value proposition resonated with stakeholders, and the organization’s ability to make a difference had been proven.

It was time to scale up the organization, build more operational excellence, and to pass leadership to a successor. The founder wanted to stay involved in strategic decision as a president but looked to pass on leadership and administrative responsibilities to an executive director.

APPROACH

The onboarding of the new ED was supported through transition coaching that focused on establishing concrete learning and change agendas during the first 100 days.

While discussing operational and personnel challenges as they arose, sessions stayed focused on the big picture – clarifying the executive director’s leadership voice and building his confidence to bring his vision to life.

We facilitated multiple strategy sessions with the founder and the new executive director to ensure aligned visions and strategic planning.

RESULTS

The – typically challenging – transition of leadership from founder to successor was successfully concluded in less than a year.

The new executive director successfully mastered operational and staff challenges and managed to establish his own vis-à-vis the founder’s vision.

A collaboratively revised strategy was fully supported by founder and successor. The founder saw her founding vision respected while the successor was empowered to contribute his own vision and experience.

Board and staff fully bought into the proposed changes.