Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Planning for New Roles but Few Rules

Written by Frances Kunreuther

It IS happening!  The older Boomers are starting to leave top roles in nonprofit organizations, and many more are thinking about what is next. Our latest report in the Life After Leadership Series, New Roles, Few Rules: Planning for Purpose Beyond Position is a much needed look at how these first wavers are creating pathways for what to do when you leave positional power. Spearheaded by Stephanie Clohesy, this paper goes right to the heart of the question, “How do I figure out what to do next?” New Roles, Few Rules uses case examples, quick assessment tools and the data collected from our survey, interviews, and focus groups to address head- on the challenges and joys of making the next move.

We started our series on life after leadership with The New Lifecycle of Work where we report that older leaders want new ways to continue meaningful work in positions that offer more flexibility and less responsibility.  The Leadership in Leaving explores leaving as an act of leadership where top execs have to balance their personal interests with those of the organization. Our latest tool, described in last week’s blog, helps begin assessing readiness to leave.

New Roles, Few Rules takes us to the next step, which is how to imagine what is next… and then make it happen. We offer a framework, exercises and tools to start. You will also hear the voices of those going through the process, including:

  • the excitement:
    The ability to spend time doing what I REALLY WANT TO DO as opposed to all the other, “duties as assigned,” that kept me chained to my position.
  • the challenges:
    The lack of identity is hard to take.
  • and coming out on the other side:
    I was surprised at myself that I didn’t know what to do next... didn’t have a clue. But people allowed me to find my way.

We hope you enjoy the report and let us know if you want to tell us your story.

Leadership boomers generational change transition