Ep 29: Leadership Transitions: How to Avoid the Mess (with Don Tebbe)

nonprofits are messy

Every organization changes leadership at some point.

Perhaps somebody retires (lots of baby boomers have nonprofit leadership positions) or finds a new job elsewhere or terms off the board…

No matter what the circumstances, your organization will, at some point (maybe sooner than you think) go through a leadership transition.

A thriving nonprofit always has a transition plan in mind, no matter how strong the current leadership seems. But how exactly do you do this well? How do you keep your organization running smoothly through those transitional times?

To help us figure this out, I’ve asked Don Tebbe, an expert at planning successful leadership transitions, to join me today to give us all some great advice on how to navigate the waters of change.

About Don Tebbe

Don Tebbe literally wrote the book on this topic – several, in fact. He has led workshops for thousands of nonprofit executives facing retirement. Don co-founded an executive search firm that became a leader in executive transitions and succession. He has worked with thousands of nonprofits to find, interview and hire new leaders and knows this topic inside and out.

If you are going through a transition in your organization now, or think you might in the future (hint: that’s EVERYONE), you’ll get a lot of good information out of this podcast.

In this episode:

  • Recent trends in leadership transitions in the nonprofit sector
  • How to create a WRITTEN succession plan (and why it’s critical)
  • The single biggest mistake boards make in succession planning
  • The three things a board needs to do when confronted with a transition
  • Pros and cons of hiring internal candidates
  • What to do if you think you made the wrong hire

Episode Links:

Joan Garry
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Joan Garry

Widely known as the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, Joan works with board and staff as a strategic advisor, crisis manager, change agent and strategic planner. Joan also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on nonprofit communications and leadership.
Joan Garry
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  • Rick J Fritzemeier

    Joan, good stuff. I’m probably looking at 2018-19 for a new “chapter” in my life (that will be after 30 years as XD), and certainly want to help my org. thrive through this time!