The conclusion of ISA’s annual Fall Leader’s Meeting tends to signal that the end of the year is approaching and it’s time to begin preparing for a new one.
At ISA, an important part of preparing for a new year is preparing for leadership transition. Each year, numerous Society leaders fulfill their leadership obligations and a new group of leaders are welcomed in to serve in these roles.
Leadership transition need not be problematic—either for the individuals or for the association at large. If thoughtfully planned and implemented, it can preserve the best of what is in place and open a path to new ways of thinking and improved results. It can help organizations grow and adapt and meet new challenges with imagination and enthusiasm.
With all that being said, though, it takes some effort and consideration to do it right. We’ve all experienced situations within ISA where leadership role transitions weren’t handled as well as they could have been or should have been. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen short in this area before.
Too often, the change in leadership is too abrupt. It occurs too frequently as a “handoff”—when it should be implemented in a deliberate, thoughtful manner—a true transition. This way, information, insights and experiences are shared. Questions are answered. Expectations are met.
So treat the leadership changeover as a process and not a transaction. Take the time to orient the new leader through a series of conversations or meetings. Furnish some written suggestions or reminders. Sure, there will be something you’ll invariably miss, but it’s a great start. You’ll be doing what you can to help your fellow ISA succeed and, in the process, build on the positive momentum you’ve created.
After all, the demands of change—both in the marketplace and within the boundaries of ISA—are difficult enough. By effectively transitioning your ISA leadership role, you can make a real, direct and tangible difference in helping ISA move forward and more quickly address the challenges before it.
I encourage us all to work together to maintain some continuity and keep the Society focused on achieving its critical objectives. If we work as a team and engage our successors early, we’re sure to keep the positive energy going.
Given that many positions are in transition, I want to again thank those who have given so much of their time and talents during 2017. I also want to sincerely thank those who are coming in to fill new roles. ISA is sure to benefit from your dedication and skills in the new year.
Without the contributions of our members, we would not be able to function. You are our most important asset. Keep up the great work.
A version of this article also has been published at ISA Insights.