I must admit that there is one thing I have noticed since debuting TexasNonprofits.org in 2001…..nonprofit staff turns over quite often in the 3rd sector. People move around the sector regularly, creating an atmosphere where an organization can change and grow with the new ideas and creativity that comes with new staff. And, unlike for-profits whose upper level staff retires when the CEO does, nonprofit CEOs usually step in to take over an existing team of seasoned staff who are trained to handle day to day issues a certain way. This can be good or bad.
Often the issues are these:
How does a new CEO or Executive Director assume control?
How does she/he invite loyalty and trust?
How does she/he get up to speed on existing challenges?
How does she/he create a team that can excel?
When a new CEO/ED is under consideration by the board, they usually have the opportunity to be interviewed by board members and staff so that they can present their best self and also ask any questions about protocol, history and continuity of the organization. After a period of due dillegence, the candidate either feels secure in their decision to accept the position, or they opt out of the opportunity. But let’s face it, things that may look rosy, can in fact be thorny when you get into the middle of the garden.
Getting to know them and their passions
What makes them tick? Taking over an existing team, setting the tone and setting expectations can be exciting and even invigorating. A meeting of the entire staff is a great time to introduce yourself and give a brief introduction of yourself and your background. After the all-organization meeting should follow individual meetings with key staff from development to financial to administration – everyone who has the slightest inpact on the nonprofit’s success. Instilling confidence, encouraging communication and sharing your valuable time with each and every team member is mandatory for ultimate accomplishment.
Mike Pegg, Great Britain’s author of The Strengths Way has designed a packet that can help new leaders engage exisitng personel and help them follow their passion and purpose to ultimately achieve peak performance.
Imagine you are taking over an existing team. Let’s assume you have done all the necessary pre-work with your key sponsors. You have agreed crystal-clear contracts about the picture of perfection—about what must be delivered by when—plus the resources required to deliver the results. You are agreed on the areas of accountability, authority and autonomy. The next step will be to meet the team members.
How can you get to know people and their strengths? How can you set the tone? How can you show people that you expect them to take responsibility for making their best contribution to the team?
This pack provides questions you can use when having individual meetings with team members. During the one-to-one meeting, it will be good for you:
a) To introduce yourself and explain your background.
b) To explain that you obviously have clear goals for the team and you will be sharing these in the near future, but:
c) To explain that, before then, you would like to get to know them as individuals and their views on the way forward.
Before the sessions, invite them to do some pre-work around the following themes. The questions in the pack may look demanding, but you will be giving the signal that you are expecting people to be proactive and think about the way forward for the team.
Mike Pegg has spent the last 40 years helping people from all walks of life to build on their strengths, to sets goals and to achieve success using The Strengths Way. He now focuses on spreading this philosophy through his web site www.thestrengthsway.com and by providing strengths mentoring and super teams consultancy to pacesetting individuals, teams and organisations, including Microsoft, Sony, Barclays Premier, Marks & Spencer Money and PC World. Mike is also a successful keynote speaker and a prolific author. His many books include The Art of Mentoring, The Mentor's Book, The Magic of Work, The Class Act Book,The Super Teams Book and Strengths Coaching in 90 Minutes.