Another Angle on Executive Director Transitions: Off-Boarding to Prepare for On-Boarding

HomeTransitionsAnother Angle on Executive Director Transitions: Off-Boarding to Prepare for On-Boarding

A small recent project was “off-boarding.” A thoughtful first time Executive Director was leaving her position and was concerned about how to effectively transmit her work to the yet to be hired ED.

We explored several steps to take and tools to be left behind to best prepare for a seamless transition. EDs have massive responsibilities and hold critical information about EVERYTHING. Transmitting this to the new leader is critical. We broke departments down into “buckets” in order to leave a history for the next person. We used a combination of:

  • Detailed outlines describing the status of each department or function (staff, board, facilities and operations, fundraising, etc.),
  • A calendar for year, “what happens, when,” and
  • A narrative about important relationships to maintain.

These steps produced a set of transition tools that the new ED can refer to over and over again. Of course, cleaning out those pesky online files is a big must as well.

What struck me through this process was that off-boarding has its rightful place alongside on-boarding, especially when the ED departs before their replacement is hired or there is restructuring occurring.

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I am an independent consultant specializing in organizational change, transition management, Executive Transitions and serving as a nonprofit Interim Executive Director. I believe in building board and staff capacity by providing information and tools for informed choices and decisive action. My areas of work include program planning and design, leadership transitions and onboarding, board development, community organizing, organizational restructuring, and creating earned income strategies.