Several months ago, our newsletter focused on succession planning; the process of preparing for a change in leadership. This month, let's revisit the topic of transition from a broader perspective. Proactively addressing inevitable transitions, whether in leadership or other significant organizational change, paves a smoother way for organizational success.
Imagine that big changes are afoot in your organization. It could be a change in management, a significant shift in programming or services, or even a need for a new location. Whatever the circumstance, a new chapter is beginning. The Board is responsible for stewarding the organization, with forethought, seamlessly through the transition and into the future. Management staff may also play an integral role in transition implementation.
Like succession planning, transition planning must be managed with intention. It is a commitment, by both board and staff, to the organization's future. Those responsible for the planning, and ultimately, the decisions that result in the transition outcome, should be clearly identified up front. Other individuals, such as junior staff members or volunteers, may also have valuable input to consider.
A key first step is to establish a timeline that works backwards from the date of the transition event. The timeline should address issues such as confirming organizational understanding of the need for transition and developing messaging to communicate with stakeholders. There are always multiple paths to a desired outcome. It is also important to build in time to identify all possible paths, consider the implications of each path, weigh the pros and cons of each, and ultimately select a path that aligns with established priorities and goals. The key takeaway is that successful transition planning and implementation takes time.
The most important task of those leading the planning effort is to review the organization's purpose, mission, goals, programs, and services to inform all decisions related to the transition. Every decision will have lasting impact and should be mission-driven and forward thinking.