Pitfalls and Potholes: The Barriers to Effective Senior Sage Leadership

Gary Quehl September 5, 2013 0
Pitfalls and Potholes: The Barriers to Effective Senior Sage Leadership


Gary Quehl and William Bergquist

The most surprising thing to me is there are many people in this community with financial means who I knew were interested in our theatre. The people who could have written a check to save the company just sat back. Senior Sage Leader

In working with their favored civic organizations, senior sages experience most of the same obstacles as emerging sage leaders: financial challenges, communications, internal stress and conflict, personal issues, and problems that arise over differences between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Unlike emerging sage leaders, seniors also identify the absence of effective leadership as a major challenge.

Financial Challenges

The organizations in which emerging and senior sage leaders are affiliated face most of the same financial issues, especially the economic downturn and severe budget cuts. But seniors also point to other financial issues, like needing to hire an executive director in order to ease the load on volunteers:

You reach a certain point where an all-volunteer board can’t move the organization to the next level without an infusion of human and material resources to make it sustainable. As a result of sound strategic planning that took place two years ago, we are now at a point where we can’t make the next jump in our development without an executive director and other resources. As I think back over eight years, I recall there was a lot of resistance to the idea of us even having a formal board of directors, much less an executive director. Happily, those persons who lacked vision back then are no longer involved.

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