For the continued success of the organization, it is important for both the outgoing and incoming officers to collaborate for a smooth transition. Here are a few suggestions:
For the Outgoing Officers:
Prepare a “transition file” or notebook for the new leaders. This may contain information about your group’s mission, goals, traditional activities, position descriptions, constitution, timeline of when to start specific tasks (how far in advance to start planning a large event, begin the budget process, etc.), contact information for helpful resources and people, list of priorities for each term, etc. Also consider including a list of things you wish you would have known going into your position, or lessons you learned along the way that made a difference to you. If your organization made any large decisions or changes this year, include information about why and how those decisions/changes were made.
Schedule both one-on-one meetings with the person who will be transitioning into your position, and a group officer meeting with the incoming and outgoing groups to personally share information, advice and ideas.
Be sure to pass on information about any commitments or reservations that have already been made for next year. Has the MU Ballroom already been reserved for next winter’s event? Have you already agreed to co-sponsor a concert with another group on campus? Are there any projects left-undone? Fill in the new group about the decisions, strategies, and efforts made, including what has worked and hasn’t worked. If they decide to continue the project, this will help them to be successful.
Talk about the fact that the new group will be different than the old group…and that’s okay. Encourage open-mindedness. The new group will need time to learn their jobs, figure out how to work with each other effectively, and develop their goals.
Provide your contact information and an invitation to contact you should the new officer have questions or need assistance. Just knowing that you are willing to be contacted can make a difference.
For the Incoming Officers:
Talk with the outgoing officers about what their goals, traditions, ideas, and strategies (both what worked & didn’t work). You do not have to do things the same ways that they did, but knowing what has happened in the past can provide a good foundation from which to start.
Be willing to ask questions...from outgoing officers, your advisor, the people who are affected by the work you do, other students on campus, etc.
Be willing to try new things. Traditions are nice, but also leave room for new ideas and efforts. Know that it’s okay to not just do what the previous groups have done before you.
Do some team-building with your new group. Even if you have all known each other before, this may be the first time you have all worked together in a team. In addition to doing some team activities, discuss expectations, how to work with each other, what you all need from each other, pet peeves, goals, etc.
Establish common group goals. By the end of the next year, what do you all want to have accomplished? What kind of legacy do you want to build?
Immediately take on a realistic challenge as your first project. Experiencing success with the first project can help the group to feel more confident about their abilities. It also allows the opportunity to try a few things, work with each other, and learn more about leadership styles without a lot of risk. It’s kind of like taking a trial run or bowling a “practice ball” before really starting the game!
Start creating your transition file/notebook from the very beginning. Doing so will make next year’s transition even smoother.
The SLI Leadership Development Team is here to help you with your leadership, group development, and transitional needs. We do one-on-one consultations and can even bring workshops to your meetings. Learn about the workshops at our Leadeship Workshops site.
To request a consultation or workshop, email GetInvolved@oregonstate.edu or call Melissa Yamamoto (541.737.6385).