Kelli Cicirelli

How to make the most of board transitions

By Kelli Cicirelli

A smooth hand off of resources and information from departing board members to newly elected officers is something every cooperative should strive for.

Ahhh, summer is here. Warmer weather, longer days, and more time outdoors.

Groups of people around a table

For the ROC-NH™ team, the arrival of summer coincides with annual membership meetings, and all the hustle and bustle of working with communities as they plan and organize to make the meetings as productive and efficient as possible.

Annual meeting is a time for members to connect, vote on the business of their cooperative, and help create a vision for the upcoming year.

The election of officers on the board of directors is a time-honored tradition. It's a time for change, and transition, that affects the entire community. As board officers' terms come to an end, what can current board officers do to ensure that new leaders are ready? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Tap into the expertise. The person vacating the position is a fountain of knowledge. No one will know the position better than the person who previously held it. Ask the retiring board member to attend the next two board meetings. The first one is a great opportunity to pass along information. After the new board member gets her or his feet wet, the second meeting allows them to ask questions and tap into knowledge.
  • Be a generous sharer. The outgoing board member has a record-keeping system of some sort and documentation that have worked for them. Pass along their files, records and documents to the new position holder. Don't forget to hand off the ROC-NH Management Guide to the new board member.
  • Bask in the success. When the elected board is successful, it is great for everyone in your ROC. Be supportive and encouraging to your successor, not critical if they are doing things a little differently than you. This may take some patience, but the outcome will be a new, confident board member who will sing your praises as a coach and mentor.

At the end of the day, the most-thriving co-ops have a pool of members that includes past and present leaders;  people who aren't afraid to step up, offer guidance, and help the co-op be the best it can be.

Whether during the lazy days of summer, or the coldest part of the year, time spent on board officer transition is a valuable investment in your community.

Kelli Cicirelli is a ROC-NH Organizational Development Specialist.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.