Leadership transition is a part of life – it happens. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t happen well. There was an article by Chris Chase, a blogger for Yahoo!, published a couple of days ago that once again reveals what a class act Peyton Manning really is.
Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press
Here’s the summary in case you missed it – the Colts traded Peyton to Denver a few weeks ago. I wrote then about what we could learn from his transition. Now, it has been revealed that not only did he exit well as evidenced in his press conference; he didn’t want to leave any muddy footprints with the media either. He spent several hours this past week calling individual members of the media to THANK THEM for what they did for him and the Colts during his 14-year career in Indianapolis!
Ironically, this week I’m making a transition here at Chick-fil-A. For those that may not know my story, I’ve been on the corporate staff here for over 30 years. This week marks the end of my longest tenure in a single role so far. I've had the privilege of leading the Training and Development group here since 2000.
Now, I’m certainly not Peyton Manning – if you ever see a picture of the two of us, he’s the tall one. However, I’m still trying to exit well. Exit may not be the best term, I’ve still got a job, but my role and my team of more than a decade are changing.
Like Manning, I needed to thank some people and I’ve already begun that process. There is the public thank you (the "press conference" – I did that Monday) and the private thank yous, which I’m still doing. What else can we do as leaders to transition well? Here are a few things to consider:
Prepare in advance for a transition… they are inevitable. Who are you preparing? There is no success without a successor.
Have the appropriate and necessary conversations BEFORE the formal announcement. Figure out who is going to be most directly impacted by the changes and talk to them in advance. Eliminate the huge surprises.
Support the new ideas that your successor will undoubtedly bring to the table. Never forget that progress is always preceded by change.
The truth is, leaders are often remembered more for how they transition than for all the work that preceded that event. I’m working hard to transition well.[GLS_Shield]