Leadership handing on the baton

 

How do leaders maintain continuity in organisations when they know major changes to the leadership team loom on the horizon? Your key leaders are moving on retiring or taking senior appointments elsewhere.

Added on 04 May 2012 by Erika Lucas

Leadership handing on the baton

How do leaders maintain continuity in organisations when they know major changes to the leadership team loom on the horizon? Your key leaders are moving on retiring or taking senior appointments elsewhere. Like a relay race how can you ensure the next generation of leaders maintain momentum and stay ahead of the competition?

It may help to prepare a set of ‘guiding principles’ for the organisation: to capture the essence of what makes the organisation successful. This will guide the appointment process for replacement leaders and provide a key document to share with staff. Ask what it is we value in ourselves and each other? What makes us excellent? It can also help sales and marketing by raising awareness of the brand and what it stands for.

I joined a senior team for an away day recently. They wanted to take some thinking time without interruptions. We appointed a facilitator who asked the team to consider the things that made the organisation successful in the past successful today and will make it successful in the future.

The facilitator used a Japanese horizontal paper scroll an emakimono rolled forwards and backwards to show us how to present our opinions in the past present and future. As the process unfolded the senior team aimed to generate a series of questions to help ensure actions behaviours and decision-making remained closely aligned with the nascent guiding principles.

The team generated statements on ‘post-it’ notes and placed them on the emakimono. Emerging themes were re-grouped refined and reviewed. The facilitator then encouraged us to find a consensus on the characteristics which contribute to the organisation’s success before breaking into smaller groups to write narratives for each subject area – people leaders culture relationships community and learning and that X factor the magic special ingredient the unique selling point that makes the organisation special and helps it come alive for staff and the customers alike. We had the corporate memory summarised in one place.

If you can capture the essentials be prepared to share it with your staff – ask for their feedback – do they recognise the guiding principles are they written in language they can relate to? Take their comments on board and together you will have prepared a succinct summary of what the organisation’s success is all about. You can turn it into an emakimono and hand it on – a great way of sustaining the future where you work.

Image by flickr user tableatny licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 license