Good Governance: Transitions of power

A perfect time to re-evaluate your organization and its direction is when a key leadership shift is on the horizon.

The recent transition of power in our country got me thinking about transitions of power in credit unions—both at the board and CEO levels. I think as a community, we give the most thought to CEO transitions, and this is definitely smart. The CEOs of many credit unions have been around for years, even decades. These CEOs have shepherded their credit unions through incredible growth, sometimes from managing receipts in a shoebox to managing billions of dollars in assets.

The change that CEOs have experienced in their credit unions over these years, even if their growth has not been quite that phenomenal, is substantial—just as significant as the change that the credit union community has seen. And it’s important to step back and take the time to think about the future before the critical transition of power needs to take place from one CEO to another.

It’s important, as a long-tenured CEO prepares to depart, to re-evaluate the credit union’s future direction, even the future direction of the board. What you needed and wanted from your CEO 10, 20 or even 30 years ago is, by definition, different than what you will likely want and need today. And clarity is key. Be honest. If you’re a risk-averse board, hiring a progressive CEO could be a non-starter. You’ll be clashing before your first board meeting.

 

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