Officer Transition Resources
Things to think about and a few helpful resources
Transitions benefit outgoing and incoming officers:
- The development of an effective officer transition process will assist outgoing leaders to bring closure to their experiences. It can help them let go, which is often a difficulty process, especially for those leaders you are vested in the welfare of the organization.
- Gives outgoing leaders a sense of accomplishment in their experiences.
- Experienced leaders will feel needed as you use their expertise for transition programs.
- Helps the incoming leadership take with them some of the special expertise of the outgoing leaders.
- New leaders will start their jobs with increase confidence and knowledge of available resources.
Transitions benefit advisors:
- Allows time for setting and clarifying expectations about the role of an advisor and the relationship between advisor and organization leaders.
- Takes pressure off of the advisor to be the single source of knowledge about past practices and campus resources.
- Helps advisor form relationships with new officers before they begin their position.
Transitions benefit the organization as a whole:
- Your organization will not repeat ineffective practices, because it can now begin to build on previous knowledge.
- Successful transition will prevent the “lame duck” period when group effectiveness can be limited.
- Provides for transfer of significant organizational knowledge.
- Minimizes the confusion of leadership change.
- Minimizes the loss of momentum and accomplishments of the group.
- Provides a sense of continuity among the membership.
An effective transition program is a stepping stone to building a strong team for the future:
Team Building includes ten essential elements:
1. Knowing the skills, abilities, needs, and fears of your membership.
2. Fostering open and honest communications.
3. Building positive social relationships.
4. Frequent open communication.
5. Delegation of responsibilities.
6. Trust in each other to complete tasks.
7. Mutual support among members and advisor.
8. Appreciation of differences and respect for all members.
9. Use the uniqueness of members to accomplish goals
10. Pride in your group.
When do you start?
It’s never too early to begin preparing future leaders of your organization! Make a point each year to begin early identifying emerging leaders within the group.
- Create an organizational structure to support leadership development.
- Develop a mentoring program.
- Develop leadership notebooks.
- Create a shadowing program.
- Encourage potential leaders through person contact. Help in developing skills, delegating responsibility to them, sharing with them the personal benefits or leadership, clarifying job responsibilities, letting them know that will be orderly and thorough, and last modeling an open encouraging leadership style.
- Elect officers at least one month before installation to provide an “overlap” period for new and old officers to work together.
- When new officers are elected, orient them together as a group with all of the outgoing officers. This process provides the new leaders with opportunity to understand each other’s roles and to start building their leadership team.
- Be sure to transfer the knowledge and information necessary for them to function effectively. An organization’s history and flowchart is helpful.
How do you start?
Beginning the process of transitioning officers may be a daunting task, especially if it seems as though there is not enough time. Start by creating a transition timeline, with consideration for the following:
- Review, as a group, the Meredith College Transition Checklist for Outgoing Officers of Student Organizations (available on page 27 of the General Manual for student organizations).
- Outgoing officers should create or update a notebook for each position.
- Consider a transition retreat (see Sample Officer Transition Retreat Agenda).
- Evaluate past successes and plan for future (see Incoming and Outgoing Officer Evaluations).
- When setting goals and making plans, decide upon explicit expectations for each position – including advisor – and for the nature of interactions between individuals (see Working with an Advisor).
Adapted from http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/osl/LeadershipDevelopment/LeadershipResources/pdf/TransitionChecklist.pdf
Helpful web resources:
Meredith College: Officer manuals can be found through this website. Page 25 of the General Manual includes the Meredith College Transition Checklist for Outgoing Officers
Iowa State University: Worksheets and resources to assist organizations with multiple aspects of transitioning officers. Topics include goalsetting, working with advisers, and archiving significant information
University of Notre Dame: Officer and group development tools. Topics include budgeting, goal setting, meeting management, and officer transition.