The embrace was genuine. The tears were real. The bond, authentic.
The moment occurred in the fall of 2008 in a Kelowna, BC restaurant, when John Baergen, the founder of The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada, told me that after a 17 year run, he felt it was time to pass the torch of leadership to someone else. He asked if I would allow him to recommend me to the board of directors.
We resolved then and there that this leadership transition would go beyond being merely smooth; we would aim for great by seeking ways to bless one-another. We wanted a Moses to Joshua transition.
Here’s how we have lived this out over the past year:
- We have intentionally looked for ways to help each other succeed.
Knowing the projects in which John is now involved, I have gone out of my way to look for resources that might be of interest to him, and he has done the same for me.
- We have maintained regular communication.
Every Wednesday morning we have connected with a standing appointment at a local Tim Horton’s. This hour has been a regular highlight of my week.
- We have publicly affirmed each other.
At every opportunity we have blessed each other in public settings. I have profiled John at The Leadership Summit, and he has built bridges for me into his relational world.
Bottom line? If you’re involved in a leadership transition, don’t aim for a transition that’s merely smooth; shoot for one that’s great.
In practical terms, what would this look like for you?