Is Leadership Transition a Problem for You?
The word "transition" means the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another state, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Working at a nonprofit, you know that transition is a fact of life. Leadership transition is also a major fact that one must constantly deal with in this profession.
While I was working as the No. 2 administrator in a development office, for example, my boss announced his retirement. I had worked with him for several years. But instead of nominating me for his position, the organization decided to spend thousands of dollars hiring a search firm to find the perfect candidate.
While I had another job offer in my pocket, I decided to apply as an inside candidate. Anyone who has worked in the development field knows that an inside candidate, however qualified, has only a 50 percent chance of landing the job. Many people believe the next leader awaits outside the organization.
Despite the odds, I landed the top job. That only started the process of my experience dealing with leadership transition.
The president who had hired me as his vice president of development/executive director of the foundation stayed in his job about nine months after I was hired. That said, I had to endure a period of transition until the organization hired another president. In my seven-year vice president stint, I worked for five different presidents.
While I hoped to remain in this position for many additional years, the new president seemed to indicate through her actions that she wanted her own person in my role. The constant state of transition did not affect my professional performance, but it took a toll on my health and well-being. Being in a constant state of mental flux is not good for anyone, and I had staff that could have been affected by my state of mind — so I fought to remain positive.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.