10. A vaccine is needed to protect non-profits from the myth of charismatic leadership.

At the risk of repeating myself, the turnover of leadership among our clients and more generally across the sector, demonstrates the foolishness of hinging plans on charismatic leadership. Rainmakers are in short supply. They come and go with greater freedom than lesser talents.  Often their past success is not reproducible in a different setting.

Even more often, the desire for an all-in-one leadership solution, someone with elite program credentials, development experience, and managerial expertise, signals a Board's wish to withdraw from active involvement in those areas.  Regardless of the cause, the effect is the same.  A plan may rely on a variety of inputs and assumptions that are substantiated by existing and probable conditions inside and outside the organization. If success is made contingent on the extraordinary talent of a leader, the organization is setting itself up for failure.

Planning should prepare an organization for contingencies like leadership disappointments or departures, not the false premise of the CEO can do it all and wants nothing more than to do it for your organization.

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