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ASSOCIATION TRANSFORMATION

Understanding the post-pandemic talent pipeline

The Great Re-think.

Here at Association Transformation, we have been staff, executive leaders, consultants, we've seen pretty much every side of the non-profit leadership equation.

Over these last weeks, months, year and a half, there's been a storm of change brought on by the pandemic, social justice boards that want to not only survive but be different and younger leaders on boards who are asking tougher questions.

There are announcements of new staff every day and it seems more than ever before there are boards pulling the rug out from under their executives, without notice. What is going on? Where is the non-profit talent is headed?

Bob Corlett, Founder and President of Staffing Advisors has some insightful views that can maybe give us some answers.

"It's a phenomenal time! You know how in the IT business new software will come out? It'll exist for six months, and then companies will start to look for somebody with 10 years of experience with that software! How can you have that - it's only existed six months?
In a similar manner, boards are looking and saying, ‘Okay, we want executive leadership that really knows how to lead post-pandemic, it’s an equally unrealistic request."

There's no leader set up to succeed within this set of circumstances. How can any new CEO experienced or otherwise, really hope to achieve stability, let alone success with such unrealistic expectations placed upon them?

Boards should not only define their desired future but manage their expectations too. They all want someone who's affordable, is very experienced, is proficient in brand new technology - they all want a unicorn. So, setting those realistic expectations is vital to success.

What advice did Bob have for a board who is about to undertake an executive search given these new market circumstances?

“There is a straightforward task you should do as you think about succession planning, as you think about the governance preparation work before a CEO leaves. You definitely want to get the ‘3am list’ from the current leader. What problems do they worry about? What do they deal with everyday in the problems they solve?

A lot of boards aren't aware of what that checklist is, so, make the CEO do it now before they leave.

As an employer, the way you make a job safer to a candidate is if you can demonstrate you understand the difficulties of the role. The more the employer or the board says, ‘We understand just how hard this is’, the less the candidate is worried that they'll have to teach the board this, in the midst of solving hard problems.”

Given necessity of organisations to fill vacancies as they are re-staff, it’s crucial for a successful board to have current strategic planning, current environmental scanning, and be current with knowing what the issue set is.

The power has shifted to the candidates. If you're an experienced candidate with a good resume and a skill set that's appropriate for this brave new world - it's a candidate’s market.

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