6 steps to prepare for leadership change

Nobody lives forever (although some people try), and no leader stays at an organization forever (although some try).

Change happens, whether it is a manager leaving for another position or a founder deciding that it’s time to move on. Leadership changes can be hard for nonprofit organizations, but in the book “When Leaders Leave” Priscilla Rosenwald and Lesley Mallow Wendell argue that a leadership change can be seen as opportunity.

Further, they emphasize the need to prepare for change before it happens. They say this preparation can be effected in seven steps:

  • Start where you are. Know how the organization is currently positioned for change.
  • Align the legacies. Understand where the organization is in its development and where the CEO is.
  • Help the leader find his/her way. It’s important that true alignment exist between the founder’s personal/professional goals and objectives and the direction of the organization.
  • Plan for success. Plan for succession. Focus on growing leaders and building a better board.
  • Kickstart the leadership transition. Support the outgoing leader in making positive plans for his/her exit.