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Cause & Effective

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Executive Transition

Successful organisations leverage turning points to become stronger and provide more social impact. The exit of a Chief Executive is one such pivot point.

Executive Transition Program

Cause and Effective’s Associates are:

Former CEO’s who have also served as leaders of cause-based organisations.

• Trained by Cause and Effective in the explicit skills needed to deliver our Executive Transition Program in your unique organisation

• Totally committed to providing your board with an independent, objective evaluation of the strengths and challenges of the organisation during their placement period as well as achievable strategies to support the future direction.

• Supported by Cause and Effective’s network of subject matter experts to ensure your organisation receives the most up-to-date, practical and realistic advice on the major strategic issues facing your organisation.

• Able to provide a calming, stabilizing influence on your organization during an often complex time of transition.

• Available to you as a cost-effective solution to your transition leadership needs, most often able to provide this service for less than your budgeted CEO salary.

Why is the ETP such a powerful resource?

Many factors combine to make an ETP such a highly effective means to assisting your organisation to thrive in the future:


As painful as it may seem at the outset, this situation does present the Board of a cause-based organisation with a great opportunity to take stock of where the organisation is, where it wants to go, and what kind of CEO can help it get there.


We are often talking months before a suitable permanent CEO can be found, recruited and on-boarded.  A Cause and Effective ETP Associate can be on the ground in days.

Peace of mind

With an experienced ETP Associate guiding the ship the organisation’s key stakeholders, including funding bodies can rest easy in the knowledge that there will be no disruption to services.


The CEO’s position is already budgeted.  And we commit to deliver an ETP for less than a board has budgeted for this position.

Experience and support

Cause and Effective ETP Associates are qualified and highly experienced. Otherwise we would not put them forward. In addition, each and every one is supported by the wider team of Cause and Effective Associates allowing us to aim a great deal of fire power at every problem confronted.


The ETP Associate is completely objective in their dealings with the organisation and is able to provide a fresh and candid perspective to the Board. Also, contractually members of the ETP team are not able to put themselves forward as candidates for the permanent CEO position. They are there to complete a task for you, not ingratiate themselves.


Our ETP Associate is not a baby sitter. They are responsible and accountable for managing your organisation and moving it along the pathway of good-to-great until it is time to hand over to the incoming permanent Chief Executive.

Clean air

It is a rare organisation that doesn’t have some troublesome operational issues. This period can be effectively used to tackle these “elephants in the room” thereby providing the new CEO with as much clean air as possible and allowing them to get on with strategic issues.

Employee development

Existing staff are not neglected during this period. In actual fact it offers all employees a unique opportunity to step up as leaders. The ETP Associate and the wider C&E team can also attend to the concerns of employees from a neutral perspective. It is also typical in these situations for the ETP Associate to improve systems and processes during the transition and generate new excitement amongst staff for the organisations future.


The transition time can be constructively used to bring closure to one part of the organisation’s history, while preparing for the next. This is particularly relevant in cases where the departing CEO is long serving or perhaps the founding executive. A rapid appointment in these circumstances presents a number of challenges for the new incumbent. An appropriate “grieving period” may be beneficial for all concerned.


Perhaps the Boards relationship with the previous CEO was less than ideal. The transition time is useful for bringing understanding of what worked and what didn't with the previous executive relationship. Also, it is a time to look forward and consider the future environment the organisation will be operating in and the Board skills that will be required to successfully navigate a reinvigorated organisation through this next phase.

Post-recruitment support

We don’t simply shake the new person’s hand and wish them luck! Our Associate’s gain a wonderful knowledge of your organisation during this process and are pleased to share this with the new CEO. This assists them quickly gain momentum in the new role and lead your organisation to greater heights.

The exit of the CEO, Executive Director or General Manager of a cause-based organisation portends a period of organisational disruption, regardless of whether the separation was voluntary or not. This period of unease can last between the announcement of the departure of the incumbent and the eventual arrival and acclimatisation of their replacement.

There is a better way  

Rather than a crisis to be endured, this gap period can be treated as a transformational opportunity and Cause and Effective’s Executive Transition Program (ETP) can turn this into a reality.

Under this innovative and effective Program, an ETP Associate can either:   


• Quickly step into the CEO position to offer decisive, effective and temporary operational leadership. This ensures that the organisation remains focused, stable and moving in a positive direction during this potentially unsettling time. From this operational position the ETP Associate can also deliver the Executive Transition Program.


• Work in conjunction with a Board appointed Interim (usually an existing or past Board Member or current staff member) to guide the Board through the Executive Transition Program.

A few words about our Executive Transition Program

Essentially our ETP aims to leverage the transformational opportunities created by the departure of a chief executive and has three stages which guide and assist an organisation from the point an incumbent informs the Board they are leaving the organisation till the three month anniversary of the newly appointed executive.

In summary these stages are:

Enquiring – This is when our Associate immerses themselves in the organisation. A thorough review against all our Touchstones is conducted. Strategies are developed to help the organisation improve and sustain its social impact.

Action – Implementation plans are developed for each strategy. Staff and board engagement process is commenced.  The recruitment for the new Executive is launched to source suitable candidates that suit the organisations requirements as identified in the “Enquiring” stage.

Support – Orientation of the new appointee and coaching support for three months.

No two organisations are the same

In framing this Program we have also recognised that all organisations are unique and we vary our approach according to your circumstances. As a generalisation, however, we find organisations roughly falling into the following categories:

Growth Mode – Where the organisation is performing well and growing but strategies need to be reviewed or developed to ensure a sustainable future.

Steady as she goes – Sometimes organisations are travelling reasonably well and the board views the transition as a routine transactional process. Paradoxically these organisation can benefit most from our input. The reason is that we are able to introduce them a suite of possibilities to consider – usually opportunities the previous incumbent was aware of but chose not to raise as they interfered with their comfort zone.

U-turn - The organisation is in various stages of decline or could be in a complete tail-spin. Here focus needs to be aimed at understanding the root cause, addressing these issues, stabilising the organisation and then eventually placing it on a growth path.

Angst – This is experienced by organisations who are enduring the departure of a long serving and highly successful executive. Rather like a team that loses its star player. Quite apart from going through a grieving process, questions abound about how it will cope in the future.

Drama – Usually the departure is involuntary. Here a primary focus of the Program is on addressing the causal issues, quickly repairing any collateral damage and rebuilding stakeholder confidence.

How will your organisation look after this experience?

We are confident that any cause-based organisation that constructively uses this transition period to take stock of where it is against our Touchstones, determines where it wants to go and what kind of future leader it needs to help it get there will be:

• Taking giant steps along the good-to-great pathway.  

• More sustainable

• More financially secure

• More positive and optimistic about their future social impact.

Learn more about how your organisation can manage a transition with the support of our Executive Transition Program by arranging for a Free Discovery Consultation.

Free Discovery Consultation

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