Recent studies reveal an unprecedented leadership shift for most organizations regardless of sector. These studies predict that a shortage of leadership will arise in the general workforce as the 78 million Baby Boomers who make up the core of organizations begin to retire. ACG provides ongoing, highly individualized, facilitated processes to support executives and organizational leaders in addressing and managing the challenges associated with this generational, racial and cultural shift. ACG partners with individuals, organizations, foundations, networks and movements to grow and nourish leadership at multiple levels.
Together we develop, evolve and adapt the structures, systems and practices that enable people to move in and out of leadership in order to advance their vision in a rapidly changing environment. We also support staff, boards and governance partners in developing the competencies and capacities they need to increase agility and operate with depth and focus in the day-to-day, and in the long run.
Critical to this process is deepening relationships rooted in trust. ACG provides feedback and perspectives as organization development practitioners to assist leaders in the transition. We provide proven tools to develop common ground, facilitate effective partnerships, and create brave space for future leaders to try on new models of leadership.
Leadership Transition and Succession at a Large Non-Profit
"It was vitally important to get this leadership succession and transition right. The chief executive of the non-profit was responsible for a large, highly complex, tightly regulated organization with a $40 million a year budget that 22,000 members relied on for their health coverage. The position called for a wide variety of skills, and comprehensive knowledge of healthcare, retirement and pensions, finance and information technology, and staff and leadership development. There was a lot at stake for the labor union and the long-term care businesses that sponsored the benefit office; a seamless transition and hand-off of leadership was critical."
From Zack's perspective:
"I was well aware that leadership transitions could be treacherous periods in the history of a non-profit organization, and that much could go wrong, even fatally. Early in my career, I had witnessed a small non-profit that I helped found and lead go through turmoil and eventual dissolution in the years after I departed.
"I had been in place as the chief executive for over 10 years at the benefit office, and had overseen the quadrupling of the budget and staff size. As a white man in late middle age, I was hoping to cap years of operational growth and successful internal staff and leadership development work by passing the torch to a leader who reflected our diverse membership and staff. It was with intentionality that I hoped to create opportunities for the largely female and POC healthcare workforce to lead the organization inwardly and outwardly, by eventually stepping aside myself."
From Elnalyn's perspective:
"I had worked at the benefit office for eight years when Zack and I first began our discussions regarding a leadership succession. As grateful as I was for the opportunity, I had a lot of questions about the process and planning involved in the making of a successful leadership transition as well as questions about my own readiness to move from second-in-command to the chief and singular executive of the organization. The idea of moving from protégé to principal brought to surface a lot of feelings for me that ranged from excitement to fear.
"In those first eight years, I had risen through the ranks rather organically. I was always eager to learn from Zack, standing ready to take on challenging assignments, while establishing my own leadership style to bring the staff forward with us during times of rapid change. Working on a succession plan, however, would require much more intentionality and preparation, skills that required both a deeply personal and professional examination of self and of understanding the influence of key stakeholders. It was through the leadership coaching provided by Beth that I was able to effectively channel and communicate my personal power during the two-year succession planning and transition period."
"We both had a great deal of mutual respect and care for each other. To fully honor each other's vision of a successful exit and legacy for Zack and a welcome entry and readiness for Elnalyn as the successor, we knew we needed help. We looked to our organizational consultant, Beth Applegate, who had been working with us on staff and leadership development for a year. This was the best decision we made; we absolutely could not have planned and navigated this successful transition without Beth. "We had already experienced the positive outcomes of her OD consultancy and knew she had a wealth of experience advising executive transitions; we trusted her expertise. Beth readily understood our vision and the importance of this transition to our organization, and she enthusiastically supported the direction we wanted to go by providing a map. She began the planning process by providing us with written material covering the best practices; got us talking about our individual assumptions, goals, needs and visions before and during the transition planning; and guided us along the way."
"Beth took a deep interest in each of us personally, getting to know us and to help us understand our own strengths and weaknesses. Talking to Beth was talking to someone who got it, got us. She tailored her consulting to meet our specific objectives, not a one-size-fits-all approach. At the same time, Beth was not afraid to hold us accountable to what we had said, and to challenge us when needed."
"Throughout the two years of succession work, we continued to deepen our staff and leadership development with Beth, as we put in significant time on our own personal growth through training in emotional intelligence, the Enneagram system, a polarity thinking framework and the feedback model of conflict resolution.
"Beth is always incredibly well-prepared and is the consummate professional in operating at all times with honesty, integrity and discretion. She is generous with her time, and fully committed. She changed our lives and the direction of our organization, for the better. We recommend Applegate Consulting Group without reservation, and with deep appreciation for Beth and the invaluable work she has done with us. "