Week 32 of 52. Welcome to Drucker Mondays, a 52-week journey through the new book, A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness, by Joseph A. Maciariello. Each Monday, we'll feature a Drucker fan and his or her favorite snippet from the week's topic. (Subscribe on this page.) Cameron Doolittle is our guest writer today.
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: “As organizations face succession, they must ask, “What important issues are likely to face the organization in the future?” and “Who is best prepared by experience and education to deal with these issues?”
CAMERON DOOLITTLE'S FAVORITE DRUCKER INSIGHTS from Week 32, pages 249-261:
• “On the Predecessor’s Role. Rick Warren notes that Drucker said, “You should never choose your successor [because]…you’ll choose a person like yourself, and what the organization usually needs is the exact opposite….”
• On Preparing for Succession After a Charismatic Leader (in the context of advising Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel on succession): “Nobody can succeed to a charismatic role…. One way to go is to institutionalize…. Institutionalization makes possible—not certain, but possible—survival and continuation beyond charisma. The main benefit of institutionalization is that it allows an organization…to survive mediocre leadership, and mediocre leadership happens to be the rule, not the exception.”
• Make People Decisions Slowly. Alfred Sloan, former CEO of General Motors: “[You] think I should be a good judge of people…. There’s no such person. There are only people who make people decisions right, and that means slowly, and people who make people decisions wrong and then repent at leisure.”
CAMERON DOOLITTLE'S COLOR COMMENTARY:
Finding My Successor. Our Search Committee had lived this chapter over the past several months, while we searched for my successor as CEO of Jill’s House. What a timely encouragement! The biggest issues that we face in the future are the need for a stronger funding base, and for deep connection to the needs of the families and our team.
Choosing the “Exact Opposite.” On the morning that I was writing this Drucker Mondays column, we received a “Yes” from the leader that our board has chosen to succeed me. I’ve had five joyous years at the helm of Jill’s House. Our board was encouraged by a devotional thought in 1 Samuel 16 that “the Lord looks at the heart.”
So...rather than finding a “Cameron Doolittle clone,” God brought us someone very different. In Joel Dillon, we have shifted toward someone with a lifelong track record of passionately caring for people with special needs; a rich background in fundraising; and zeal for shepherding the team.
As the founding CEO, I had “founder” strengths. Now Joel brings new—and different—strengths! Praise God for bringing us someone to fill in some of these gaps! And thanks to Peter Drucker, via John Pearson’s eNews, for these words of wisdom.
THIS WEEK'S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY CAMERON DOOLITTLE:
Cameron Doolittle, former president and CEO at Jill’s House, now serves as senior program director at the Maclellan Foundation. Based in Falls Church, Va., Cameron also consults with companies and nonprofits. He is a co-presenter on the August 25 webinar, “Results from the ECFA 1st Annual Church Financial Management Survey.”
• Ram Charan recommends that “Boards should ask new CEOs to draft a succession plan immediately (and the annual self-assessment should measure progress).”
• Read more: Boards That Lead: When to Take Charge, When to Partner, and When to Stay Out of the Way, by Ram Charan, Dennis Carey and Michael Useem.
On August 17, 2015, Jim Canning (at the plate for a second column—read Week 9 here) will share his color commentary on Week 33’s topic, “Mission,” the first of five weeks on “Lessons From the Social Sector on the Power of Purpose.”