Tag Archives: Interim

Life on the Unraveling Nonprofit Arts Fringe: Why Hiring Experience and Guile Trumps Everything Else

Actor Hugh O’Brian is said to have coined “The 5 Stages of an Actor’s Career;”

  1. Who is Hugh O’Brian?
  2. Get me Hugh O’Brian.
  3. Get me a Hugh O’Brian type.
  4. Get me a young Hugh O’Brian.
  5. Who is Hugh O’Brian?

We’re in contact with hundreds of highly-experienced, resilient people who have made a career in the arts – and they’re having difficulties getting back into the field.

Some of it is ageism. Boards use headhunters to find smart young guns to lead departments or organizations — only to find that instead, they’ve hired brilliant 2-year placeholders with few people skills, entitlement issues, little flexibility, and quick parachutes.

Studies show those >50 stay longer than those under <40, are more productive, have better improvisational skills and flexibility, and are likelier to bring success.

Forget headhunters.  Do your own search.  Hire someone better than you.

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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