Leadership Transition

The transition of leadership for your student organization can be smooth - or it can be a complete disaster. Either way, it may determine the effectiveness of the organization for years to come. 

Making the transition is the responsibility of the departing and newly elected executive board members. The passage of knowledge, experience, accomplishments, and goals for student organizations will help current officers gain a sense of completion and bring closure to their experience. At the same time, the transition gives the new officers valuable information, advice, and confidence for the future.

Below are a few lists and checklists of what to transfer from your old officers to the new leadership. If your organization can't share some of the information because these items don't exist for your organization, remember it's never too late to start documenting!

Knowledge of Organization's Structure, Goals, and Accomplishments

  1. Constitutions and bylaws
  2. Job positions/descriptions
  3. Status reports on current and continuing projects
  4. Evaluations of previous projects/programs
  5. Meeting minutes and agendas
  6. Resource or contact list
  7. Members list
  8. Financial records and books
  9. Historical records

Personal Expertise, Knowledge, and Experience

  1. Talk about effective leadership qualities and skills
  2. Share problems and helpful ideas, procedures and recommendations
  3. Write or share reports containing traditions, ideas or completed projects, continuing projects, concerns, loose ends, ideas that came up but were never implemented, past fundraisers, etc.
  4. Go through personal and organization files together
  5. Introduce officers to advisor and staff members

What do outgoing leaders need?

  1. Permission to let go and encouragement to teach their successors
  2. Structured opportunities to deliver vital information to their successors
  3. Informal/social occasions to talk about what their organization has meant to them and the legacy they hope to leave
  4. Encouragement to complete their last official duties
  5. A push to organize materials before transferring them to new leadership
  6. Recognition, reward, and appreciation

What do incoming leaders need?

  1. Structured opportunities to gather information from their predecessors
  2. Knowledge of where important materials are stored
  3. Support for skills they bring to the position, encouragement to learn more, and permission to learn
  4. A notebook, folder, journal or digital data storage device to begin recording new duties, ideas, success hints, references, etc...
  5. Structured opportunities to "try out" their new roles (shadowing, mentoring, team-working, simulations, etc...)
  6. Information about next year's budget and organization goal statements
  7. To cultivate their skills in observing and sensing