These are the key findings from Daring to Lead 2011 related to executive director career paths, succession, and transition. For more information download the full report in PDF.
Path to Current Position — Nearly half of executives—48%—were internal hires: 31% were previously on staff and 17% were on the board. Thirty-two percent (32%) were external hires and 20% were founders.
Current Tenure — Nearly a third of current executives (31%) have been on the job for fewer than three years. Twenty-seven (27%) have been on the job for 10 or more years.
Anticipated Executive Departure Timing — Seven percent (7%) of executives have given notice and 67% anticipate leaving within five years. Within that 67%, 10 percent (10%) who have not given notice say they are actively considering leaving.
Succession Planning — Seventeen percent (17%) of organizations have a documented succession plan. Just 33% of executives are very confident that their boards will hire the right successor when they leave.
Performance Evaluation — Forty-five percent (45%) of executives did not have a performance evaluation last year. Among the majority of executives who did have a review within the past year, just a third (32%) said it was either somewhat useful or very useful, with the remaining two thirds reporting that it was only a little useful (53%) or not useful at all (15%).
Predecessor Departure — Thirty-three percent (33%) of current executives followed a leader who was fired or forced to resign.
Shared Leadership & Bench Strength — A large majority of executives lead their organizations with a style that could be characterized as shared leadership (an approach that is inclusive, collaborative, and shares leadership responsibilities with others throughout the organization). Fifty-seven percent (57%) said shared leadership very much describes their style, while 34% reported that it somewhat describes their style. Eighty-one percent (81%) of executives thought that the majority of their staff would describe them as practicing shared leadership as well.
Executives expressed confidence in the decision-making capabilities of their staffs, with 81% reporting at least one person on staff that they trusted to make important organizational decisions without consultation from them first.
Thirty-six percent (36%) of leaders said there would not be a credible staff candidate for the executive position should they leave today. Among executives with staffs larger than 100 people, 27% reported no credible candidate for their job on staff.