The 2016 study of board chairs, “Voices of Board Chairs” by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, observed that most individuals become board chairs after a period of service on a board sub-committee. Often that, coupled with a willingness to chair the board, are the only prerequisites for service as a chair. The study and my experience would suggest a couple of additional considerations.
- Not all board members are chair material – “not anyone can do it well!”
- Keen self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a readiness to be a group facilitator are among the most important prerequisites.
- The Board should develop generally understood succession planning processes for chairs.
- The Board and CEO can develop good protocols for orientation.
- CEOs can and should have a significant role in these processes, but they should not be driven only by the CEO.
What observations would you make about board chair succession practices?
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