When was the last time you really thought your process of finding and developing potential leaders for your organization? Communication, finding them, and growing them them is vital. Not unlike gardening, the process of growing healthy leaders involves a few important steps. Done properly, you will see seedlings grow into buds, and then into vibrant blooms!
A common practice across associations is to create a once a year, e-flyer along the lines of “We Want You” to volunteer for a committee or a director’s position.
- As with any other call to action, there are three rules to follow:
- Determine your target audience (first)
- Understand what they are thinking about the benefit and barriers to this activity. Address them in your pitch.
- Be specific about what you want them to do.
Find them first. Then cultivate them.
Here are ten promising practices about casting your net wider in order to foster the right kind of people for your committees and leadership:
- Use association events to look for members who are involved in discussion, who are passionate and sound like they are open to ideas and do-ers. If they are involved in Church as a volunteer, they are a good prospect.
- Look for those with whom you have good business experience (even those on the other side of business dealings).
- Personally invite aspiring leaders to a board meeting.
- Take time to make personal phone calls to prospects. If each board member and committee chair made two calls, the effort is minimal and the results can be many.
- Document brief written or video testimonials from past presidents, board members and committee members to share with prospective leaders
- Do some informal mentoring for a member you think has leadership potential (you will get as much out of it as they will!)
- Give constructive feedback.
- Set up a formal mentoring program with your past presidents and a small group of prospects
- Develop leadership communities. An experienced group of members, business owners and past president would make a good team to nominate members for leadership.
- Make leaders accessible (not untouchable); ask leaders to spread out, reach out and speak out about leadership opportunities. Follow the 5 “W”s:
Then add one more to the list: Welcome them.
These are some ways to fertilize the leadership ground. Good luck in your search for the best unexpected but quality seeds.