Custom Designing A New Nonprofit’s Chief Executive Orientation

Custom Designing A New Nonprofit’s Chief Executive Orientation

By: Eugene Fram

Under a customized format, the nonprofit board tailors a program that helps the new executive develop a solid base in the organization and understand its unique climate and culture. Properly structured, this orientation takes about a year to complete. The board’s time commitment decreases over the course of the year. Major responsibly for the program should rest with the board chair, but it should also involve one or more senior board members.

Weekly or biweekly meeting should be scheduled. However, both sides should be wary if the time required does not decrease considerably as the year progresses.
Those handling the orientation must take care to delegate responsibility properly. Those that over-delegate give the new executive too much responsibility too quickly.
Those that under-delegate don’t give the executive the necessary power and authority to meet objectives. Also of concern are those who provide vague and inconsistent delegation. This leaves the new chief executive with uncertain boundaries and support,

Every custom designed orientation program should include nine steps. Some must be taken in sequence, while other steps can proceed concurrently.
1. Developing immediate and long term goals
2. Reviewing fiscal and personnel resources
3. Examining current policies and procedures
4. Developing staff relationships
5. Fostering board relationships
6. Cultivating community or industry relationships
7. Understanding the clientele, membership and other stakeholders.
8. Discussing the new executive’s career expectations
9. Establishing a succession plan should the executive be temporarily incapacitated

Sources: Eugene Fram with Vicki Brown, Policy vs. Paper Clips, Third Edition, 2011, Amazon .com  http://bit.ly/yfRZpz
Eugene Fram & Robert Pearse, The High-Performance Nonprofit, Milwaukee, Wisc, Families International, 1992.

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