I died this morning.


I was an energetic, charismatic, visionary leader.
I worked at least 60 hours a week.
The office is by turns chaotic and paralyzed.
Some are crying.
Some are ecstatic.

Outside the charity, most don’t care.
Not their problem.

Trustees are panicking. Staff members are traumatized.
Some are taking charge, Alexander Haig-style.
Others are forming committees to decide what to decide.
Still others are composing resignations.
Reporter on line 1.

I knew every board and staff member.
And their families.
I knew every major donor.
I knew local foundation leaders.
Benefactors on line 2.
Beneficiaries on line 3.

I knew financials.
I knew history.
I had passwords.
Vendors on line 4.

I knew where everything was.
I shared that information.
But that was 5 years ago.
To employees who are no longer here.
Too bad there wasn’t a written succession policy.

Not my problem.


One response

  1. I took over an agency with four programs shortly following the death of the previous director of five years – he kept most of everything in his head. He had worked 60 hours a week – I had to work 75 hours a week for seven months to try and repair the damage enough to keep the agency from tanking. Not keeping your successor in mind every large step you make is a misstep so huge I cannot imagine another more irresponsibly damaging to an organization. I insist on the boards I work with having a “10 minutes on succession” conversation every board meeting with the ED attending. How is everyone documenting what we are doing? It’s essential. If you are not holding the future responsibly you are not being ethical. I am sharing the poem. Thanks to Alan for writing it.


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