Great topic Steve!
The Richmond Virginia Developer Community suffered when a charismatic leader got too busy with other things. Since then, the leadership has worked hard to put leadership committees in place. The committees have grown organically and are working great!
We've found when folks are ready to get involved, they ask about more involvement. That's how we've grown leadership for the Richmond .Net Users Group
, Richmond SQL Server Users Group
, and Richmond Code Camps
(now planning RCC5 - can you believe it? Five!).
We build in enough capacity to sustain operations and events even if we lose 60 - 75% of the leadership. This happens, it's best to accept it. Last year, we had someone step back because of a fire in their apartment. How do you plan for something like that? The truth is we can't. But we can be realistic in our expectations of leaders. It's all a volunteer effort, after all.
This also dovetails into sucession planning. The developer community should be able to continue if it loses someone - anyone - no matter how much of a "rock star" that person is.
In addition, it's the responsibility of every leader - especially if they're a rock star - to mentor and grow new leaders. It should be the top priority. Things are going to change - the group / community needs to be able to go on with minimal interruption.
Since we implemented this philosophy, we've seen steady growth. It's been just over two years, and things show no signs of slowing!
Andy LeonardData Philosopher, Enterprise Data & Analytics