In pretty much every nonprofit there are two individuals who more or less share leadership: the CEO and the Board Chair. Usually, one is paid and one is a volunteer.
Dr. Eugene Fram (Policy vs. Paper Clips) reminds us, in his article from the November-December 2011 issue of the Nonprofit World, that particularly because Board Chairs tend to have terms way shorter than the CEO, there is a pretty short period for bonding. Dr. Fram also hits home the point that the CEO must orient staff on who's in charge of what, so as to ensure there is little confusion.
I must say that I am now thinking about just how much time the CEO and Chair have to "bond" before or while the Chair takes office. It strikes me that a well selected and "right" chair is likely not an unknown entity to the CEO. The best incoming chair may well have served as Vice Chair and led the strategic planning process (I believe a good idea particularly if responsible for Year 1 implementation). The best incoming chair should have also been active in a board committee and likely, before even becoming a board member, active as a volunteer either on a committee or task force or working. In the language of my colleage Don Currie, a really forward thinking board will have a succession planning process in place such that the search for future Chairs will happen possibly even before the propsect is a board member.
That's my food for thought as many organizations begin the year with a new Chair.