Mary Elizabeth shared this article with me, The (Aging) College President, from Inside Higher Ed. The article mostly speaks to the demographic make-up of college leadership, how the average age of college presidents is now over 60. But I focused on a hidden detail, about transition leadership. From the article:
But other demographic data about today's crop of presidents leave the overpowering -- and, to ACE President Molly Corbett Broad, the "sobering" -- impression that postsecondary institutions face a potentially sweeping turnover in their top jobs.
Broad and Bryan Cook, who directs ACE's Center for Policy Analysis and is a lead author of the study of presidents' said that the "anticipated wave of retirements" among presidents is of "great concern and may present challenges or even a temporary leadership shortage," as Cook described it. Given the financial problems that many institutions are confronting, and the leadership that may be necessary to help colleges maneuver through that climate, the turnover could be problematic, they said.
These points address an often-overlooked aspect of leadership: identifying and developing future talent. Granted, at the president level, many colleges will likely look outside the institution to replace the top spot. As the article points out, "While the chief academic officer's job remains the most common path to the presidency - with 34 percent of presidents having served as provost in their previous position - one in five presidents in 2011 moved into their jobs from outside academe, up from 13 percent in 2006 and 15 percent in 2001."
However, this should serve as a reminder of the importance of transition leadership. It's an important phrase. You may instead prefer to write "leadership transition", but I believe that term relates more to the act (or moment) of changing the leadership position. Instead, when leaders plan ahead for future leadership in the organization, I prefer "transition leadership" - how do you look towards identifying and developing the next level of leaders.
In the IT Leaders Program, transition leadership is an important component of your overall leadership presence. It's not just about planning the future direction of the organization, but the future path of its leaders. I challenge all IT leaders, inside and outside the University of Minnesota, at all campuses, to examine your up-and-comers and find ways to develop their leadership skills.