Well-Intended Mess

In this post, I share a story about how a well-intended effort to work around a conflict of interest created an awkward and unsustainable situation. The perception of nepotism undermined the credibility of a new hire. How One Workaround Leads to Another Workaround This story is about a small, well-established private school. Over the years, we had several instances where relatives of staff or faculty started working there as well.  This included the son of the Head of the School who reported to his parent. The Head and his son were both lovely people, but they were tone deaf to… Read more

No One Should Be Indispensable

In my last two posts, I shared stories about a founder who stayed around too long and another founder who made a positive and gracious exit. In this post, I share a story about the founder of an all-volunteer organization who wanted to move on but could not because they were not set up for leadership transition. There are two lessons from this story. The first is to make sure you don’t rely too much on one individual – either as ED or as Board Chair. As a board member, you have responsibility for the well-being of the organization. If… Read more

Check Your Ego and Prioritize the Organization

I love to share good stories. After my last post (about a founding ED who would not let go), a reader reached out to me to share a very different story. In this post, the founding CEO, the board chair, and the new CEO worked together to make a smooth and successful transition. What worked? Everyone emphasized their commitment to the organization, putting mission before ego. The founder pledged to support the new CEO. The board created a thoughtful, strategic process that prepared them and staff for the transition for the future. The new CEO and the founder developed a… Read more

How NOT to Choose Board Officers

From a board member somewhere in the US I have been on many boards some dysfunctional and some wonderful. One of the most wonderful boards was an organization that focused on community health centers. It had grown from a small organization in the 1970s to having about 400 staff. It was great; well run; a poster child for its industry. I was honored to be asked to join the board.  I served on it for 15 years and chaired it for a couple of years. I chaired through the onset of the affordable care act and the changing of the… Read more