When is it Valuable to Engage an External Interim Executive Director?

An executive director-level change in any organization can be disruptive to staff and board members. Uncertainty looms large and with the uncertainty comes anxiety.  With anticipation and planning, such an important change doesn’t have to be painful.

Organizations with a current strategic plan can ease this transition, especially if the strategic plan includes a succession plan for the executive director.  If your organization lacks a succession plan, especially when confronted with the sudden loss of your executive director, it can be traumatic, but it doesn’t have to be.  In fact, it can be an opportunity.

Where to Find Interim Executive Directors?

Many search firms have access to experienced nonprofit executives.  There are even some firms that specialize in such services.  Association Management Companies (AMC) can also be excellent sources for very experienced executives that can fill the interim role, and more!

Depending on the challenges facing the organization in need for an interim executive director, sourcing this important resource from an AMC can provide unique benefits.  If an organization suddenly finds itself without an executive director, or a soon-departing executive director, that executive vacancy is probably not the only surprise the staff and board are in for.

AMC executive directors are supported by teams of professionals skilled and experienced across the full range of operational services for organizations and associations.  In this regard, interim executive directors not only have a much richer set of experiences working in a multi-client environment, but also come with an operational support team should that be necessary.

More than Keeping the Trains Running on Time

One critical role of an interim executive director is to maintain the organization’s operations and commitments – keeping the trains running on time.

But what if it’s time for the trains to run on a new schedule?  Or carry different passengers or cargo?  Or go to different destinations?  These are strategic questions that require investigation, data and information gathering, and broad input and assessments by board and staff.  An external interim executive director can be an invaluable resource to study the organization’s operations and make assessments that would be difficult or nearly impossible for an insider to make.

Posted in Management.

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