Passing the Torch: Leadership Transition in Our Professional Organizations

In many professional organizations and associations (both formal and informal), leadership positions are fluid and change frequently. Whether it is an elected position, scheduled appointment, or a professional move, it is important to consider how your organization manages leadership succession and transition to sustain the association.

Passing the Torch

In thinking about transitioning out of my current role with NACADA, I was asked to share my experiences and resources* for incoming leaders for in the association. I figured I might as well share a few of these ideas with others who might be transitioning or transferring of roles in their professional organizations as well:

I. Build Your Professional Posse – No leader can do it alone, nor should they. Surround yourself with some great people who share similar interests and passions in your professional area. You know who they are – you have met them at a conference, attended one of their presentations, connected with them online, or heard about the great work they are doing – so reach out and get these members involved.

  • Recruit members at annual conferences/meetings in-person and online. We used a shared Google Form to invite others, e.g. the  #AdvTech Technology in Advising Commission Sign-up for 2012-13

  • Pass on and share the names, contact information (email, phone numbers, Twitter handles, etc)

  • Find out HOW members want to be involved with your group. Be open to suggestions and areas of interest that you have not thought about.

 

II. Take Note — Document, Organize & Archive – Be sure to keep notes, capture screenshots, record meetings, and file take notes, take screenshots, record online, and file information in an organized way throughout your elected/appointed term.

  • Save and file emails into folders from the professional association, members, and more – you never know when you will need to refer back to them

  • Organize information by projects, deadlines, and responsibilities

  • Store and save your files in an accessible space for your group to review

  • My “go to” spaces of organization for NACADA included:

 

III. Mentor While You Lead – Succession planning does not have to start at the beginning or end of your elected/appointed term. Consider involving members in your professional organization early and often.

  • Encourage point people for sub-groups, committees, or projects

  • Recommend collaboration within and outside your specific group

  • Involve participants in activities, presentations, research and development with your interest/commission area (psst you should not do it alone).

 

IV. Meet with Your Members – You will want to organize a regular meeting schedule with your committee, group or advisory board. Inquire about these at the start of each academic semester or quarter, and try to keep them on a regular schedule. Save the date(s) in advance.

  • Determine when you can meet. Try using a Doodle to sort out your meeting schedule.

  • Find the best space to “meet” for your group as they may not be anywhere near one another geographically:

    • Conference Call? There are a few free ones like http://www.freeconferencecall.com/ out there

    • Professional Association or institutional online web conferencing available? NACADA uses the Adobe Connect platform

    • I also am a fan of Google Plus Hangouts – free group video chat for 10 people and the ability to have IM chat and shared documents from Google Drive and/or screen sharing capability

  • Put out your agenda a week in advance to remind others of meeting, where/how you are meeting, and to give time to prepare/read over meeting information

    • I use Google Docs for shared agendas to encourage members to add discussion topics, questions, or updates

 

V. Create a Communication Plan – Consider making a communication plan for your professional group. This will help you understand the how, where, when and why for communication. This will also help you to disseminate information, seek out information, ask questions, and engage the members of your professional group.

  • Survey your group to find out WHERE they want to stay connected and informed. This can be at an annual conference/meeting or online. {We asked at the annual meeting, and on the digital sign-up sheet.}

  • Create welcome messages for email, Facebook or other networks to tailor and respond to interested members ASAP, for e.g.

Hello ________________,

Great to hear that you are interested in getting involved in the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission (#AdvTech)! Our #AdvTech Commission would love to have you join in the fun. To help identify your interests for involvement in the commission, please complete the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission Sign-up for 2012-13 {insert URL}

Also, be sure to connect to our commission  Facebook Group: {insert URL} There are a number of great conversations, questions and opportunities to share resources in this space. Finally, we do have an option to sign up to the commission listserv and information on the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission web page

Looking forward to getting you connected and involved soon!

Best,

Laura Pasquini

NACADA Technology in Advising Commission Chair 2011-2013

  • Get SOCIAL (media) – find an online, connected space that works for your group. Our group was interested in a moderated/closed Facebook Group; however I have seen Google Plus Communities, organizational listservs, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn groups (e.g. Advising Veterans), or hashtags on Twitter (e.g. #firstgen) to bring professional groups together. Just be sure to keep up with the conversation in whatever space you choose to use.

  • Be open for members to reach out to you for questions, ideas, suggestions, and getting involved. I often connected with members via email, Skype, on the phone, Google Plus, or another social network. Keep the conversation going, and consider hosting “office hours” or regular ways to connect with you.
  • Think outside the communication box. Consider offering different means for sharing member information and updates. We tried out the NACADA Tech Talks of 2012, and after the NACADA 2010 conference members of our group initiated the the #AcAdv Chat weekly Twitter conversations.


*There are a number of different tools and online resources to help with professional organization workflow. I am just sharing the specific ones I used with my NACADA Technology in Advising Commission the past couple of years. Figure out your purpose, then find the appropriate tool that will work for you.

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4 thoughts on “Passing the Torch: Leadership Transition in Our Professional Organizations

  1. Charlie Nutt May 27, 2013 / 10:24 pm

    Great post, Laura!  Thanks

    • Laura Pasquini May 27, 2013 / 10:26 pm

      Thanks, Charlie. Elisa had asked me to share a few tips for incoming CIGD leaders, so I thought I would pass it along here as well. 🙂

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