Turnaround Leader Selection Guidelines
The first selection criteria mentioned in the literature, and supported by interview data, is that the non-profit organization must be willing, even desperate, to grant an incoming leader full power to effect radical turnaround change. If a declining organization is incapable of granting this license, the effect of leader selection will be negligible. New leader selection can result in substantive change only when the organization is ready to share power and allow experimentation.
Three characteristics are critical indicators of an organization ready for this change (7) (8):
- An overwhelming majority of members express profound dissatisfaction with 'the way things are going around here.'
- After several failed attempts at maintaining the status quo, managing members are willing to go beyond "tinkering" with policies, programs, perspectives, and personnel. They are ready to grant a leader authority to radically revisit the organization's philosophy and processes, empowering the leader to conduct simultaneous projects without interference.
- Members recognize gifted leaders with a strong sense of destiny and are willing to take the time to equip the new leader for success by providing mentoring in the consensual core vision, values, beliefs, and mission of the organization.
The Selection Process
An inclusive leader selection process is important. Making the selection process appear inclusive of all members, to the extent possible, increases positive perceptions of the leader and support for change. The automatic leadership rotation process produced the least positive leadership perceptions. Even in the organization where leaders were appointed by a district bishop, the general membership perceived that they at least had "veto" power over the final hiring decision. Although in actuality they did not have that power, their perception of having a voice in the selection process created a personal ownership of the hiring decision and a responsibility to support the leader.