November 29, 2008

NAACP Leadership Change Insufficient to Reverse Continuing Decline in Relevance

Julian Bond has announced his intention not to stand for re-election as board chair of the NAACP when his current term expires. Bond said "I'm ready to let a new generation of leaders lead".

Generational change in leadership at the NAACP board level and in local communities is a long overdue and necessary step, but not sufficient. It must be accompanied by a significant increase in the quality of strategic leadership at national and local levels. At both levels, the simple organizational capability to run effective meetings, analyze problems, then develop and carry out a strategic, relevant response over time has been either lost or surrendered in pursuit of narrow political agendas or the retention of most favored gate keeper status. The Urban League is similarly afflicted. I have scant confidence that the change in leadership at the top will result in a complete rethinking of the NAACP's role, assets, strategy and goals. Visionary and paradigm shaking leadership is what is required. I will be utterly surprised if anything resembling that emerges from the NAACP's long overdue leadership change.

Bond seems to site Obama's election as the catalyst for his decision to make room for new leadership. Far from stirring a paradigm shift though, I suspect Obama's election may only serve to mask the organization's continuing strategic leadership drift.