Jack and Jill: Why Smart Nonprofits Search for Interim Leadership

Executive Director Jack resigns.

Jack leads the committee to replace himself. The committee selects Jill.

Jill is not Jack.

Jill discovers too late that she been enlisted to follow Jack’s path rather than set her own.

After a year, not only is Jill unhappy, but trustees and employees resign.

After a second year, Jill resigns. Or is fired.

The reeling company hires Fred – who is neither Jack nor Jill.

Uneasy lies the head that breaks a crown.

Succession planning needn’t require permanence. It might be best to hire an interim leader from outside the organization (not a board member) while the permanent search is carefully executed.

Every organizational leader’s legacy ends the day the leader leaves. Which means it is never a good idea to have the outgoing director have a say on a permanent successor.


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