In with the new
May 2, 2016 11:03 AM   Subscribe

In June, I'll be moving out-of-state to take a management/director position. The person who holds the job now is retiring; he has asked me if there's anything he can do to help prepare for my arrival - he wants to make the transition as smooth as possible for me and his staff. If you've experienced something similar, what was helpful for you (or would have been helpful)?

I'm looking mainly for concrete suggestions - "have all the personnel files available," "lists of projects staff are working on," "list of regularly scheduled staff meetings," etc. The retiring director and I will have about 10 days of overlap, a situation I realize could be problematic as well as beneficial, but that's not my main concern. I have met the staff, toured the building and premises. The person retiring has been at the institution for 30 years, as director for the past 10.

Mostly, I'd like to hear mundane, practical suggestions - especially if they're non-obvious. And thank you in advance!
posted by infodiva to Work & Money (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm assuming this is a non-profit organization and answering based on my experiences:
A list of program/reporting deadlines, annual events, professional conferences and other items that figure into organization's workflow and staff availability year-round.
Contact information for community partners/stakeholder representatives (and introductory emails/lunch?)
Website log in credentials for organization accounts.

Best of luck!
posted by Schielisque at 11:13 AM on May 2, 2016


If he could start gathering important correspondence that he gets (mostly via email, unless you're lucky enough to be using a more sophisticated discussion platform) that may be of interest/help to you, that is where a gold mine of information can be. You get a lot out of this, including:

1. Names of his regular contacts.
2. Deadlines, ways in which these people do business.
3. "Tone," or the tacit knowledge that comes from reading how he corresponds with certain people/places/companies. Knowing to call one person "Jake" while calling someone else "Ms. Mulligan" can make or break that first impression.
posted by xingcat at 11:24 AM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


The person who holds the job now is retiring; he has asked me if there's anything he can do to help prepare for my arrival - he wants to make the transition as smooth as possible for me and his staff. If you've experienced something similar, what was helpful for you (or would have been helpful)?

I found the fifteen day overlap I had really helpful - you need to figure out what is baggage to discard and what is real info, but I found these things helpful:

- Figure out if there was anyone who applied internally or a second-in-command type person who will be miffed you're there - you can set off on a right foot if you are able to show you're not the enemy but someone who will help their career;

- In person meetings with key stakeholders and funders - introducing projects, next steps, frequency and mode of conduct, and creating a face to a name;

- A low-down on all board members (if you're reporting to one) - who liked which pet issues, who was difficult, what key things came up often, who to call in certain situations, etc;

- A sense of his filing structure and/or working out access to emails - everyone does it differently, and thus having more than an hour to go through files and discard what is no longer useful/move other things around is really valuable;

- We reviewed the most recent audit and financial controls - depending on the organization's size, finance can often be sloppy and recurring themes in audits could be a "quick win" in the eyes of your stakeholders;

- We spent half a day outlining his vision for the future and workshopping/whiteboarding issues together. I found this really useful, but it was way more useful for him - he felt like he had an opportunity to have his unencumbered say which let him let go of the organization easier. He was the founder and had previously founded a similar organization and had a poor relationship with his successor, in part because he lingered...this helped me get him out the door quicker;

- We had lunch together a couple of days and I was able to get a sense of his motivations, personal goals, and why it was he founded the organization. There is going to come a point where you may wish to call the previous director up to deal with an issue/remember something, and I think this is easier to do if you've established even the basics of a personal relationship.
posted by scrittore at 12:03 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Technically yes, the job is at a non-profit; an academic library at a small, liberal arts college. You've all given me great advice - I really appreciate it!
posted by infodiva at 4:22 PM on May 2, 2016


« Older Ikea Warranty   |   Required Facebook Malware Scanner? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.