As an interim you may land in an charity going through change or in crisis, sometimes when the CEO has left suddenly (which can be for various reasons). At such times, the leadership of an organisation is clear – it is the Board. They have to deal with the situation and ensure the charity is stabilised and continues to deliver, then appoint a permanent replacement. This puts enormous pressure on the Chair and the Board – to safeguard the charity and secure its future. This is not what you bargain for when you become a charity Chair! But by and large, the Board Chairs I have encountered have stepped up when they needed to – sometimes with significant personal impact.
Board members also have masses of insight and wisdom – invaluable to a CEO. This deserves enormous respect and appreciation – not just in those times of crisis, but all the time. That is why, if you are a CEO, it is so important to work with and alongside your Board, listening to them, seeking their advice, and supporting them to be effective – so they can support you, and make the best and right decisions for the charity at all times – as well as in a time of crisis if need be. That means working with the Chair on Board development, ensuring the Board is informed about what is happening in the charity, early warning of issues that may – or may not – prove challenging – and generally maintaining an open dialogue and partnership between the Board and executive leadership team. This benefits everyone and, most importantly, the charity and cause.