The Question Matters

Dave McCleary on Leadership Transition: The Power Grid

Posted in Change,Coaching,Generation X,Generation Y,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on April 28, 2010
Tags: , , ,

I have a new friend in my coaching cohort at UT-Dallas.  Adam Rico works for the “air traffic controller” of California’s electric power grid.  His company’s job is to make certain that power gets where it needs to go, that each city has the power it needs without shortages and outages.  They monitor where power travels, and they make sure it arrives at its proper destination.

Like electrical power, leadership transitions must have a clear path and a clear destination.  Listen to Dave McCleary’s thoughts on the subject:

“[Boomers in leadership] need to understand sharing power – they need to share the power and the position – this means meeting with their successor several times during the day – this means lots of talking and shadowing and soft-mentoring – this means transition times from 8-24 months in most cases…”

I’m going to go a step further than Dave has with a commentary that may drive Boomer leaders nuts.  Next generation leaders must begin sharing their leadership as soon as they take a position of greater responsibility, with any level of oversight of others.  This is true even–perhaps especially–knowing that Gen Y and some of their slightly more senior Gen X counterparts may bolt with little or no warning, leaving behind a gap in leadership for your organization.  This may feel a waste of time and effort, but it is crucial to passing on strong leadership in the next 10 years.

Having a clear path of power transfer is not–I repeat NOT–a survival tactic for your business, church, or NFP.  If you wait to begin giving it away until you’re certain you have someone who will stick around–that is a greater waste of time than losing someone in whom you’ve invested yourself.  Sharing leadership is a gift, a gift to be given with no strings attached.  And it may very well mean that your business, church, or NFP will look very different in the next generation.  It may even go away.  This is an essential part of selfless leadership–having peace with knowing you’ve passed along a legacy of what is best in you over and above a business plan, a mission statement, or a theology.  The destination is a person, not a place.


One Response to 'Dave McCleary on Leadership Transition: The Power Grid'

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  1. Marla Finley said,

    Sounds like a Go-Giver to me!

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