When an executive transition is on the horizon, executives and boards often find it easier to consider the possibilities of a strategic alliance or restructuring openly. If your organization is planning for or going through an executive transition, here are some things to keep in mind:

Get down to the basics: Your answers to these questions will likely reaffirm the importance of your work, but they also may flag an opportunity or need to think differently about your future.

  • What is our core purpose? What problem are we trying to solve or what new reality are we trying to create?
  • If we were to be founded today, would it be to meet an unmet need?
  • If we were to close our doors today, from whom would we hear and what would they say?

Identify your organization’s core strengths and challenges: Before you hire a new leader into your current operating reality, consider the following:

  • How would we describe our unique value? What are we doing that no one else is doing as well as we are?
  • What are our core challenges? Do we have the resources and skills that we need to expand — or even continue — the impact that we seek to have in the world?
  • What other organizations are working in a space similar to ours? How do our results and reputation compare? Are there organizations that have gone or will be going through major changes that might be open to partnership in a new way? Are there new players that are making our work more (or less) relevant?
  • Is it reasonable to think that a new executive could build on these strengths and overcome these challenges?

Consider the possibilities: An executive transition provides an opportunity for your organization to consider what more you might be able to accomplish in strategic partnership with another organization.

  • Could a strategic alliance or restructuring with another organization provide us with additional resources, programs, and expertise that would serve our core purpose?
  • Do we have programs and program leadership that could complement another organization’s offerings?
  • Is there an organization with aligned values and purpose that has strong executive leadership?