When it is time for a CEO to leave, succession issues become pervasive within a nonprofit. The process of grooming possible successors can be divisive, often creating a distraction. Senior staff tend to handicap the internal horses and align with the contender they think will get the job. As the various scenarios play out, lower level managers hold back making decisions based on whether they think the odds-on favorite will like what they want to do next.
The idea of promoting from within is often the preferred approach. If a single internal candidate distinguishes themself, has a vision for the future that the board thinks makes sense, and has the respect of the staff, the transition can theoretically be very smooth. In fact, when you are the leading nonprofit within your sector, it can be difficult to find a good candidate from outside your organization who adds value.
- Is your organization confronting a succession scenario (or has it done so recently)?
- How is/did your organization deal with the issues that can arise or did arose?