By Evan Pitchie, CABS F2019 President

Transition your next generation of student leaders can be simple and fun. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve that.

It’s that time of year again!

Incoming executives are full of energy, ready to bring change to their school and community.

Outgoing executives, on the other hand, feel a bittersweet sensation. Part of them feels like it’s time to pass the torch, but another part feels like it’s going to miss the rush and the thrill of the busy lifestyle.

I was involved in my business student association (BSA) for 3 years. It has now been 2 years since I am no longer involved with my BSA, so I want to share some advice with all outgoing and incomings.

Tips for Outgoings

Do you remember the transition you received when you started? Were you happy with it? If yes, then be sure to do the same and give your successor an even better transition. If you weren’t happy with your transition, then be the one that breaks the cycle and give your successor the best transition you can give.

We’ve probably all heard that we should keep a log of what we do on a monthly basis to help with transition. This is great in theory, but difficult to do in practice because of a lack of time. That being said, all hope isn’t lost. A very simple and easy way to remind yourself of everything you’ve worked on and what you should tell your successor can be found in your:

  • Google Drive (or other file-sharing tool you use)
  • Email account (check out this list of ways to search for emails based on time, search term, and more)
  • Slack channels and conversations (if you’re on the free plan, you’re limited to 10,000 messages but you can look at the different channels created to give you an idea of what was discussed)
  • Board of directors monthly reports (usually these are high level, but it’s a great way to bring yourself back to that period in time).

Now this might appear tedious, but if you didn’t log what you did each month, this might be the next best thing.

Let your incomings shadow you and invite them to some of your meetings. They’ve heard you talk, but when it comes time to execute, things can be different than expected. Tie theory and practice for maximum results.

Introduce them to the people they need to know. Whether it’s venue owners, faculty members or corporate partners, making that warm introduction helps both parties get to know each other and continue growing the relationship.

Tips for Incomings

Ask as many questions as you can to your predecessor. Whether you were qualified for the position or not, you still got it. So learn as much as you can from other people’s mistakes and make the best of it.

Some questions you can ask:

  • Why do we do x this way? How did that process start?
  • What went wrong when you did x? What went right when you did x?
  • If you were doing another term, what would you remove, what would you modify, and what would you keep? Why?
  • Who from the university should I have on speed dial (or establish a good working relationship with)?
  • Can you introduce me to key stakeholders?

Once you officially take over, you are the lead person for your portfolio. Your predecessor will surely give some advice after their mandate ends, but you will be in the driver seat. You will need to come up with a process for making decisions and how to search for information you may not have.

You will make mistakes. That being said, in most cases if you are able to accept the mistake and use this as an opportunity to learn from it, then you’ll be ok!

Ask for help. Student leaders often feel that they need to know everything and do everything themselves. It’s normal and often more appreciated by the other party if you admit that you don’t know or are unable to accomplish something, but that you will seek the additional help to get it done.

Unless you’re doing another term in the same role, almost everyone is lost in their role until about 6-8 months into their mandate. By the time you get the hang of things, elections are around the corner. Don’t beat yourself up for that, student leadership is a learning experience. Appreciate and use this time to discover what you enjoy and face your fears.

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