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Leadership and Succession Planning: The Essence of Effective Governance

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  1. Leadership and Succession Planning:The Essence ofEffective Governance Julie Silverstein, President & Chief Operating Officer

  2. Discussion Topics • Governance and the Board’s Role • Leadership • Setting a High Bar: Characteristics of Exceptional and Effective Leaders • Recruiting & Selecting Qualified Volunteer Leaders: The Leadership Succession Process

  3. Governance – a definition • The act of governing; exercising authority; decision-making processes in the administration of an organization. • The legal authority of a board to establish policies that will affect the life and work of the organization while holding the board accountable for the outcomes of such decisions.

  4. In Volunteer-governed organizations … Governance = Joined Leadership in Action

  5. 6 Things Only A Board Can Do • Define the organization’s fundamental purpose for existence: • Who are we? • What do we do? • For whom do we do it? • Why do we do it?

  6. 6 Things Only A Board Can Do • Chart the organization’s future course: • Where are we going? • Create the vision; set the strategic direction • How will we get there? • Develop strategies; review/approve plans • When will we get there? • Determine resource allocation; funding priorities • How will we know when we get there? • Determine metrics; monitor results

  7. 6 Things Only A Board Can Do • Articulate, nurture and preserve the organization’s core values: • The essential and enduring principles: • Define the organization’s heart and soul • Determine organization’s character • Are meaningful guides

  8. 6 Things Only A Board Can Do • Communicate, clarify and provide context for the organization’s vision, purpose, core values and strategies with members, partners, other stakeholders and the public-at-large.

  9. 6 Things Only A Board Can Do • Ensure the organization stays on track: • Determine, prioritize, monitor programs and initiatives consistent with mission, values and strategic direction • Provide proper financial oversight • Negotiate and balance “staying the course” vs. “making incremental/radical change consistent with current/emerging stakeholder needs and market conditions” • Determine how problems and opportunities are framed and approached

  10. 6 Things Only A Board Can Do • Identify, recruit, mentor and set the standards for the organization’s future leaders.

  11. Setting the Bar High: Characteristics of Exceptional and Effective Leaders Everything rises and falls on leadership. – John Maxwell

  12. The Job of Volunteers… • To inspire and enable people to do great work on behalf of the whole.Whole = an industry, profession, community of interest, or cause

  13. Exceptional & Effective Leaders • Knowledge and skills • Personal characteristics • Situational fit • Time availability • Professional profile • Past volunteer service

  14. Knowledge and Skills • Past board experience • Industry • Strategy • Finance • Business • Negotiation • Public speaking • Marketing • Public policy

  15. Do your leaders help your organization soar, enabling it to become high-performing and self-renewing? Personal Qualities of a Leader • What to look for • What to develop • What to avoid • What to shed Or, weigh down your organization causing it to become reactive and static?

  16. Personal Qualities of a Leader Create conditions conducive to renewal, improvement and change management Is locked in and protective of the status quo

  17. Personal Qualities of a Leader Looks forward and discerns the future; thinks strategically Operates within the pressures of the moment; focuses on tactics

  18. Personal Qualities of a Leader Possesses uncompromised integrity and goodwill Avoids, stretches, manipulates the truth

  19. Personal Qualities of a Leader Bases decisions and actions on desired business outcomes using combination of data, common sense and instinct Becomes sidetracked by emotional impulses and loses track of their role as a board member

  20. Personal Qualities of a Leader Focuses outward and on opportunities Focuses on problems and finger-pointing

  21. Personal Qualities of a Leader Confronts and resolves conflict Avoids conflict at all costs

  22. Personal Qualities of a Leader Is comfortable delegating power Likes to control and dominate

  23. Personal Qualities of a Leader Holds himself/herself and others accountable for delivering on promises and specific performance Passes the buck; makes excuses. Being liked and/or popular is the highest priority

  24. Personal Qualities of a Leader Generously shares information, resources, praise and credit Keeps everything close to the vest; protects credit and the limelight

  25. Personal Qualities of a Leader Has enthusiastic followers; commands the respect of colleagues, professional peers and staff Has dispassionate, reluctant underlings

  26. Personal Qualities of a Leader Views volunteer service as an honor Views volunteer service as a stage

  27. Personal Qualities of a Leader Possesses passion and conviction in organization’s vision and purpose Is driven by ego and self-interest

  28. Personal Qualities of a Leader Understands leadership commitment of time, energy, other requirements before accepting; takes appropriate action when unable to fulfill service commitment Is enamored with the limelight and/or trappings of the position

  29. Personal Qualities of a Leader Enables open, candid and constructive debate and deliberation Shoots from the hip; creates chaotic discourse and criticism

  30. Personal Qualities of a Leader Strives for clarity and buy-in On making decisions and taking action… Chases consensus and certainty

  31. Recruiting & Selecting Qualified Volunteer Leaders The Leadership Succession Process Eagles don’t flock. You have to find them one at a time. – Ross Perot

  32. What Motivates Someone to Commit to a Volunteer Leadership Position • Part of a winning team (board, organization) • Their time will be leveraged in the right way • They can make a difference • Ego

  33. What Motivates Someone to Commit to a Volunteer Leadership Position • Personal value/professional growth • Want to be part of an exclusive, privileged club • Good for his/her organization or company • Platform to advance personal agenda

  34. What Motivates Someone to Commit to a Volunteer Leadership Position • Peers – company we keep • Desire to serve/duty to give back

  35. Barriers to Volunteering • Dysfunctional boards • Operational boards • Perceived lack of organization: nothing documented • Roles are not documented, there is no board or volunteer orientation • Perception that it will take too much time • Lack of ability to sell company on value-add of volunteering

  36. Make Leadership Succession Strategic • Leadership is a strategic asset for a volunteer organization • Governance modeling should be an objective in your strategic plan every year • Each year should move the organization towards more effective governance and stronger leadership

  37. Make Leadership Succession Strategic • Leadership succession planning is part of the chief elected officer’s role • Discussion of up and coming leaders should be part of board agenda throughout the year • High-potential leaders need development or they’ll go lead another organization

  38. Make Leadership Succession Strategic • Schedule and sponsor board training sessions and leadership sessions as part of regular meetings • An hour spent on leadership discussion is more strategic than an hour reviewing conference scheduling

  39. Lessons Learned from the Corporate World • Make the first contact count • 1st year volunteers’ experience will determine their thoughts about the organization • Start reaching out early • Qualification starts with 1st year volunteers • Identify top-performing volunteers like you would at your company

  40. Lessons Learned from the Corporate World • Put the top-performing volunteers in the high-exposure roles and put the average volunteer in lesser roles • Give them an opportunity to have an impact early in in smaller ways and grow them • Paint the picture of opportunities ahead • Recognize and reward top volunteers • Volunteer retention is critical to growing strong leadership

  41. Leadership Recruitment: Build an Outreach Plan • This is not your traditional nominating committee process • Typical process • IPP heads up committee (issue: on his/her way out, less investment) • Personal calls to people: (issues: unscripted, inconsistent message)

  42. Leadership Recruitment: Build an Outreach Plan • Typical process (continued) • Review of applications (issue: don’t ask the right questions) • Screening/interviewing (issue: unwillingness to disappoint long-time volunteers) • Approval (Issue: boards don’t ask tough questions and ratify recommendations without discussion)

  43. Leadership Recruitment: Build an Outreach Plan • Process must be professional and rigorous • Must be clearly documented and shared with candidates • Process itself has to be more strategic • Create a roadmap just as you would for any other strategic initiative

  44. Leadership Recruitment: Build an Outreach Plan • Define clear set of criteria for evaluating candidates • Be sure to look at all facets of the person: soft skills, hard skill set, ability to serve well, professional profile (includes company represented) • Identify the skill set gaps on the board and use those as an additional guide • Document the above and the board expectations of the process

  45. Leadership Recruitment: Build an Outreach Plan • Launch a Search Committee • President is the board liaison • Chose the chair by picking someone that embodies the characteristics you are looking to add to the board —not by position within the organization • Chair should have some cache within the field and the organization. • Add members that are close to the grass roots organization, ear to the ground.

  46. Outreach Process Recommendations • Set up parallel outreach tracks • The “ASK” • Proactive identification of companies/organizations that you’d like to add to the board • Carefully craft the value-add to the organization that would encourage an executive to nominate someone

  47. Outreach Process Recommendations • Board member identified candidates in the field • Personal calls with scripted, consistent value points • Ask sponsors, strategic partners to identify people they know within other organizations • Call for nominations • There can be diamonds in the rough

  48. Review of Candidates & Selection Process • Be sure the best candidates fill the positions • And that the process is fair and inclusive • Use clearly outlined predetermined criteria • Narrow the field of candidates using a scoring process--weighting the criteria from most important to least important • Make sure interview process is handled smoothly and professionally with emphasis on communication to candidates

  49. Review of Candidates & Selection Process • Interviews should be done face-to-face if possible • Questions should be written out ahead of time, and as consistent as possible • Response back to candidates should be in person (via telephone) not over email and should offer feedback if not selected

  50. Finalizing the Slate & Presenting to the Board • Critically analyze the final slate • Does it have balance between leading practices and context? • In the end do the most correct thing possible, and let common sense rule • Leading practice is to present a slate that gets ratified by the membership, not to present multiple candidates running in each open position • Your members elect you to make the right decisions and recommendations on leadership