The departure of an organization’s founder or a chief executive who has become strongly identified with the organization or even the mission can be a traumatic one for any nonprofit. Even now, many organizations are facing the prospect of losing individuals who have provided leadership for a long time.
In their book “When Leaders Leave” Priscilla Rosenwald and Lesley Mallow Wendell that one way of preparing to find a replacement for a long-term leader is to think about the legacy that leader has provided. Whether aware of it or not, leaders do create such legacies, and people within an organization usually will have opinions about what that legacy was, and those opinions can form a discussion about a replacement.
Rosenwald and Wendell suggest that an organization can initiate a discussion about the leader’s contribution by asking the following questions:
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