Learning to Be an Interim Executive

Being an interim executive director is a challenging role, and one that not many people have the training and experience to complete successfully. I have had two interim director roles, but I knew I had much more to learn. In late January, 2019, I attended the Interim Executives Academy developed by the Third Sector Company.

The training gave me a solid foundation to use to grow my skills as an interim. It was also helpful to meet other interim directors and talk about our challenges and our successes.

There were three fundamental aspects that I learned during the training:

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Succession Planning for Success

All nonprofit organizations need to think about succession planning. Anything can happen. The current leader’s spouse can get a job offer in another state. Their elderly parent can suddenly need around-the-clock care. The board finds out about an incident outside work, forcing the resignation of the current leader. Sometimes, though, it is much less drastic. Maybe the current leader decides to take a vacation and realizes how much they need to record and delegate before they go.

In any of these situations, a plan provides guidance to the board and staff on how to keep the organization running smoothly. In addition, the plan helps the organization focus on its mission long-term by encouraging open and honest conversations about the future of the organization.

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