Problem: Scrambling to fill leadership vacancies; recycling leadership

Solution: Create a Depth Chart to help grow the leadership team and identify future leaders

Strategy: The Lone Star Chapter’s depth chart is one of its key tools and a topic of conversation at every board meeting. The chart lists current leadership and identifies upcoming leaders four years out.

In a healthy chapter, leadership rotates from year to year as volunteers move up the ladder and roll off. The depth chart is available for Lone Star’s entire chapter membership so they can see where future of chapter is going.

Evaluating the Bullpen

The chapter also added a “bullpen”— an addendum to the depth chart. The bullpen is kept at higher level and is used by leadership to score and rate potential leaders.

“We use this to evaluate our volunteers and consider places where they might shine, whether it’s a on a committee, or in a leadership position,” says Bill Galinsky, president-elect of the Lone Star Chapter.

It’s not a fail-safe system, says Galinsky. Sometimes a volunteer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements. “It’s disappointing when it works out that way. It’s even more difficult if that volunteer is headed for the officer rotation. If we strictly follow our bylaws, we would ask that volunteer to either step up or resign.”

Lone Star looks to its committees and involved members to fill the board and officer position. Galinsky says the chapter has taken the program committee and made it the responsibility of vice president. “In our case, it works out well because our incoming VP is a man who led the program committee for three or four years and built the two-day institute model of education we have now.

Want vs. Need

Lone Star is careful to look for those who want to be involved as opposed to those who need to be involved. The chapter focuses on volunteers who have demonstrated their commitment thru active involvement in committees. “ It’s more than just a resume enhancer,” says Galinsky, “we’re looking for people who are willing to take on projects, willing to step up and follow through.”

“It’s important recognize that on one hand, there are people who are well suited to leadership, while on the other hand, some may want to be on board, but don’t want to be officers. “Some people just don’t want to be in the spotlight,” says Galinsky.

Once someone expresses interest, it’s important not to let him or her fall thru the cracks. “Put them to work, give them opportunities to see if that’s truly where they want to be or if they just want to put something on their resume,” says Galinsky. “When they do take up the challenge, evaluate whether they follow through and make a difference that will improve the chapter in the long term.”

Shoring Up the Volunteer Base

Bringing new volunteers into the process is essential to creating and maintaining a healthy volunteer base. This year, to energize members to volunteer, the chapter held a Chapter Advancement Team-facilitated Member Activation Day, code name: MADCAT.

“It went really well,” says Galinsky. Thirty-five members turned out and the new volunteers have remained committed including a new newsletter chair and social media committee. They set up Twitter Facebook accounts that same day and got their LinkedIn account working. Plans are already in the works to replicate the program next year.

“Volunteer work takes time and effort,” says Galinsky. “If it’s left to just a few people, they may do an excellent job, but they burn out over time.”

Publication Date: Thursday, February 28, 2013