I visited Prague a few days after a Habitat for Humanity Global Village build in Poland and snagged one of the last seats to a Czech Symphony Orchestra concert. The performance of Mozart’s Concerto for Violin and Viola was remarkable enough but after the concert I learned the conductor was a last minute substitute for the “indisposed” original conductor. The fill-in conductor performed flawlessly.
Okay. We all call in sick once in awhile. Competition for any paid music gig is fierce. Hang around a crowd of performers more than a few minutes and the rolodex (still using that?) fills up quickly with stellar, highly trained people who just need a chance to show their stuff.
Who is your backup? In our world of org leadership, especially charitable organizations where the pay isn’t high and applause isn’t loud, a rolodex full of back ups is rare. Benches are not deep.
I’m coaching an Executive Director of a charitable org who anticipates retirement in six to eight years. Although that seems far away, their strategy is to fill second tier positions with fully qualified people perceived to have significant growth potential. As they fill board positions they’ll seek a few people with deep management and leadership skills appropriate for the position.
Any CEO will eventually retire, resign or become “indisposed.” With a strategy like this, a search committee will have a few qualified names for immediate consideration and get a head start. And the show will go on.