Home > Don Crocker, Interim Executive Leadership > Dreaming Spring Training, Mariano Rivera, and…… Interim Executive Directors?

Dreaming Spring Training, Mariano Rivera, and…… Interim Executive Directors?

Okay, by now you know I’m a Yankees fan – even you New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies fans who have vowed never to come to a Support Center event again.  Oh, those early childhood memories at the ballpark!

So, anyway, what do Mariano Rivera and Interim Executive Directors have in common? I want them both on my team!  Watching a few innings of baseball in March always wakes up my senses and helps me to welcome in spring. If only I could be at spring training in sunny Florida!

I always marvel at the precision of the game, a nuance only true fans of the game can appreciate. Not only does baseball have specialists for each position, but also for each situation. Take pitchers for example. We have starters, relievers, and closers. Each has specific skills to move the game forward and position the team to score.  While the purpose and duration of play of the different types of relief pitchers has changed over time, the benefit to their teams is clear-they help stabilize the game and (hopefully) kick-start it back into a positive mode-getting the team back on track to win. Of course, baseball and relief pitchers also make me think about one of our most critical programs here at  the Support Center – Executive Search and Transition Managementt(ESTM) and the role of our relief pitchers-our Interim Executive Directors.

Transitions of nonprofit chief executive officers – whether the position is called Executive Director, President, or CEO, can lead to one of the most challenging periods for a nonprofit.  Funder and staff concerns and community confusion often take the organization off-course and can stall out the success of even the best organizations.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.   When professionally managed, a chief executive transition can be one of the most valuable periods of time in a nonprofit’s life cycle.  Important new approaches and mergers or alliances can be explored, and the board can reconnect with critical stakeholders through the transition process. Increasingly, nonprofit board leaders are choosing ESTM services and the placement of a professional Interim ED to guide the organization through its transition period.  A stronger alternative to traditional search services, ESTM consultants and an Interim ED work to help an organization and its board seek a harmonious ending for the departing CEO and a healthy, focused beginning for the new one.

Similar to a relief pitcher, the Interim ED becomes part of the organization’s team of professionals –working to strengthen a nonprofit during a time of uncertainty.  An Interim ED not only stabilizes the organization through the transition, but also provides the board with the time needed to carefully examine the aspirations and direction of the organization so that the new leader can effectively move the organization forward. With the help of local and national foundations, the Support Center has helped to prepare a large pool of Interim EDs who stand ready to take the mound to help organizations navigate the potentially rough innings of executive transition.

No, I’m sorry, Mariano Rivera is not yet available in our bullpen of Interim EDs! But who knows, he may be available next year for a new career.  Learn more about our Executive Search and Transition Management services here and let me know your thoughts (about either ESTM or baseball).

Here’s to an exciting and fun 2012 season!

Don Crocker

Don Crocker



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