Is your executive director resigning or retiring? Is your search process taking a while to get off the ground? Would this upcoming transition be a good time to look at foundational issues and questions before hiring the next permanent leader? Have you just been through an unsuccessful search for a new leader?
These are just some of the reasons your organization could consider hiring an interim executive director for some period of time (on average, four to eight months). With a part-time interim leader on staff, your organization can take time to do important planning and searching while ensuring that day-to-day operations will carry on efficiently.
An interim leader can help your organization in various ways depending on what is needed:
- Providing a steady management hand and listening ear to an organization of any size going through transitions
- Ensuring critical project work and organizational administrative duties are completed as promised and expected
- Digging into organizational systems and administrative tasks to prepare for a new leader
- Reassuring staff, board members, stakeholders, and funders of continuing organizational productivity and capacity
- Ensuring direct and transparent communication among organizational groups including staff, board, funders, partners, and other stakeholders
- Helping the board address important systems and capacity issues
- Creating time and space for a thoughtful planning and search process
- Establishing an assessment process to review organizational vision, operations and plans in order to ensure job description for new permanent leader is in line with organizational needs
- Developing a broad view of the organization from both the inside and the outside to inform decisions about leadership needs and organizational growth
- Sharing information with organizational leadership about opportunities and challenges meriting attention in the planning process
- Allowing consideration of fresh perspectives and new ideas on organization pathways and needs
- Working with the search committee to ensure timely forward process
- Developing internal process and materials to help smooth the transition to a new leader
- Ensuring that the organization emerges from the period of transition, strengthened by the process of assessment, planning, decision-making and successful in its ongoing project work.
Evelyn deFrees has been an interim director for three different organizations. To learn more or explore how interim leadership could help and enhance your organization, contact her at email@example.com.