Every business with longevity will eventually experience a change in leadership. Wise leaders plan for these transitions. There is no one size fits all method, but we can learn from the experiences of others.
...we can learn from the experiences of others
I am the third-generation leader of Sturdevant's Auto Parts. In the mid-1990s, my father, brother and I worked with an outside advisor to evaluate the business and develop a plan for the future. The process included personality assessments and role-playing, along with the financial and structural aspects of the business. The planning was enlightening for all of us, and as a result I chose to begin the buyout process and stepped into a more active leadership role in the company.
The transition in our company was smooth – primarily because we had planned for it. I now find myself getting closer to the tail end of my career and I know it is time to begin planning for the next leadership transition. It is important for the continuity of my business and is in the best interests of my employees as well.
Like a business, the Chamber plans for transitions in our volunteer leadership. As in many not-for-profit organizations, there is a clearly defined path to leadership on our Board of Directors. In our case, a board member first becomes a member of the Chamber's Executive Committee. Over the course of four years, he or she serves in each role on that committee before becoming Chair of the Board. In the fifth year, the individual moves to the position of Immediate Past Chair – remaining involved and available to support the new Chair through the transition.
It is not only the Chair of the Board, or even the whole Board, who lead the Chamber though. As a member-driven organization, you – the member – have a voice. There are lots of ways to make your voice heard – sign up for our weekly communications, participate on a committee, attend a Chamber event or even simply contact a staff member with your input.
In the near future, the Chamber will invite recommendations for individuals to fill seats on our Board of Directors in the coming year. Please consider which business leaders in your professional network might be a good fit to lead in this manner.
Thank you, members, for keeping our Chamber strong and vibrant!