Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Biblical Model For Succession

CEO succession, a dormant subject just a few years ago, has come fully alive. Boards are thinking about succession, not only when their CEO is ready to retire or under threat of dismissal, but as a working principle of good governance. For Christ-centered ministries, Elijah’s transfer of prophetic authority to Elisha is our succession model. Follow the sequence. Elijah, aware that his leadership is coming to completion, is told by God to anoint Elisha as a man of unquestioned integrity and youthful energy. So, in an irreversible act, Elijah takes off his mantle and puts it on the shoulders of Elisha, never to take it back. The newly ordained prophet responds in kind. Elisha sells all of his equipment, slaughters all of his oxen, and feeds the poor to let everyone know that he will never turn back from his calling. Then, in a mentoring moment, Elisha follows Elijah to be his servant and learn from the master.

Dare we follow this model? If so, we need CEOs of Christ-centered ministries who are not threatened by the reality of succession. We need CEOs who are actively cultivating potential successors to their position. We need CEOs who pass the mantle of leadership without reservation. We need successors who cut all of the lines of the past in order to give themselves unreservedly, and even sacrificially, to CEO leadership. And then, we need senior statesmen who will make mentoring of the next generation the lasting legacy of their leadership.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Governance — Good, Better and Best

Good governance gets better results with best practices. Proven standards beginning with a clear statement of strategic focus and ending with a candid assessment of performance constitute best practices in organizational governance. Christ-centered organizations are no exception. Here is our guiding principle: Governing boards that follow best practices may not be Christ-centered, but Christ-centered boards will follow best practices.

Good reason backs up this principle. First, best practices increase the effectiveness of our ministries. Second, astute major donors will ask about best practices before they give to us. Third, Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are a “letter from Christ…known and read by everybody,” (II Cor. 3:2). A Christ-centered organization is also a letter from Christ that is read far and wide. To have best practices written into the text is an honor to the Author and a witness to the reader.