At an as yet unspecified time in the near future, the revered leader of a high-functioning team must exit, due to age, health, opportunity, or some other compelling reason.
The way the team sees it, the exiting leader must bring in a new leader or anoint someone from within, though no team member is clearly the one to take the reins in the eyes of the others. The team is anxious and wants to know what steps will be taken when to secure a new leader.
It is easy to imagine a super-being who would take over. The problem is that such a person is hard to find, expensive, has a high likelihood of being rejected, and would require a great deal of time and energy better spent helping the organization to perform and grow.
The exiting leader knows that, between them, just about everything could be well covered by the current team if they would work together towards that end.
The exiting leader is reluctant to put forward any particular plan for fear that it will be met with skepticism and fierce resistance by the team.
A wise leader asks her/his team for its best thinking before proffering a path forward.
A proven approach for so doing is as follows:
|The GC then charters the management team minus its current leader to serve as an Executive Operating Committee (EOC).
The GC then asks the EOC to meet in a series of three professionally facilitated work sessions, each to answer one of the following questions, in turn, and report back to the GC with its best thinking:
|The EOC meets to come up with its best answers to the three questions and then briefs the GC:
The approach smooths the path forward because, however things turn out, the exiting leader and the GC have sought and secured the best thinking of the team from the get go. The team is readied for change by honoring their thinking and constructively engaging them in figuring out what to do whatever course of action is finally chosen.