Looking Out and Looking In

By The Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel
President and CEO, United Church Homes 

A CEO search is a unique time in any organization’s life. CHHSM is entering this time of leadership transition with great optimism. We celebrate the accomplishments of the organization under the Rev. Bryan Sickbert’s distinguished leadership for 22 years. While we prepare to celebrate Bryan’s ministry, the CHHSM board is also using this time to do some of its own reflecting and planning for the future.

The search process creates what our search consultant, Cynthia Barth of Diversified Search, calls a feedback circle. So this is an opportunity for the board to educate itself on opportunities and challenges as others may perceive them.

This is a time for gazing inward. As she talks to leaders from all corners of the United Church of Christ, CHHSM members and our sister ecumenical associations, Cynthia is hearing stories of appreciation for CHHSM and its legacy of hands-on mission and ministry. There are many common bonds among CHHSM members’ histories in their founding by congregations seeking to address local human needs and injustice.

We are also seeking the honest appraisals of CHHSM’s shortcomings and growing edges. The board wants to learn about how we provide value and where we could do more. It is important to listen carefully to the many voices who value this organization and its role within the church and the ecumenical community. These constructive perspectives help the board to evaluate our work and its impact, where it exceeds expectations and where it falls short. The board needs to see our organization as others do.

Like any board, CHHSM’s directors also want to look outside of CHHSM as it exists today and begin to think about our future aspirations. In conversations with prospective candidates, Cynthia is asking them to look ahead and share their thoughts regarding CHHSM’s future strategic direction – what are their ideas for CHHSM, their vision of CHHSM’s mission into the future? The future of CHHSM will be shaped by our next CEO and his or her compelling vision of what CHHSM can become.

Looking within and looking outside are two essential perspectives for the governance of any organization navigating a leadership change. The feedback circle brings valuable information about CHHSM’s history, its current role and operations, and our emerging options for the future. The CHHSM board is grateful to all of you who have shared your insights regarding our organization’s past, present, and future. This information is extremely helpful in educating ourselves and preparing for the next chapter of CHHSM’s rich history of putting the gospel into action for thousands of people across our member ministries.

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