Transition to CEO: Brace for Impact

By Association Adviser staff • August 22, 2017

Photo by Blake Wheeler on Unsplash
Photo by Blake Wheeler
New CEOs can set themselves up for success and create a culture where staff can thrive – all within the first 100 days.
Panelists and recently transitioned executives Nancy Green, Chris Busky, Alison Keane and Lawrence Sloan discussed the importance of onboarding as part of “Transition to CEO: Brace for Impact” at the 2017 ASAE Annual Meeting. While onboarding is just one aspect of the process of taking over the helm of an association, all agreed that the first 30 to 60 days can be particularly important and offered advice to those looking to move up the ladder.
The early days are the time to make first impressions and build the foundation of relationships that will be important during your tenure. Find out early who you need to meet with and when – not just members, but also volunteers, non-members, industry leaders and other stakeholders.
Also, accelerate your learning about the industry. Make sure you know important acronyms and terms, research, legislation and issues. Talk to members about their needs and challenges.
You also want to establish credibility early on. It doesn’t hurt to look for areas where you can get a few easy wins under your belt.
Before you introduce yourself to the industry at large, make sure you have a comprehensive communications plan in place for the transition. Be strategic about your messaging that goes out to media, sponsors, advertisers and the community at large.
Finally, don’t forget your staff. Make sure they know how important they are to the success of the organization. Establishing a culture will take longer than the first 30 days, but you can get off to a good start by valuing your staff’s time, knowledge and experience.
It’s OK not to say yes to everyone right out of the gate. You don’t have to effect change overnight. Go slow and listen first.
Have you been through a CEO transition? What is some advice you’d share with someone in the same boat? Leave a piece of wisdom below!