Friday, May 30, 2014

King David’s Steps to Success… Via Succession

In a meeting last week I was accused of being a governance nerd. Guilty as charged… I may be a bit too fascinated with the structures and systems that allow organizations to work. I read articles of incorporation, corporate policy manuals, and bylaws for fun.

In my daily Bible reading a few days ago I noticed a governance approach that could be a useful model, specifically as it relates to succession. As I’ve written before, a few times, there is no success without succession.

The passage is found in 1 Chronicles 28-29 as David hands the throne off to his son Solomon. Here are some of the key steps that David took to ensure success through succession:

David Publicly Proclaimed His Support
David made it clear that his success would be judged by the success of his successor… not in comparison to his successor’s failures. It seems that some former leaders are happiest when they can point out the shortcomings of their successor… as if their successor’s weakness reveals their true strength. Leaders who tear down their successors don’t build up their own reputation; they make themselves look pitifully small.

David Charged His Successor to Lead, Rather Than Charging His Subjects to Follow 

While it was certainly implied that David wanted his followers to transfer their loyalty to Solomon, David’s charge was directed at Solomon to lead. Charging the followers to follow could only result in short-term success. For long-term success, Solomon would have to step up and lead.

Furthermore, David’s charge was not primarily a matter of tactics or even strategy; it was a charge of character. “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

David Left Plans for the Future 
It seems that some new leaders desire a fresh start… free from the shackles of the former leaders’ old ways of doing things. That is certainly understandable when strategic plans and governance systems seem most concerned about preserving the past. In those cases, set the captives free… allow them to do a new thing!

But often the more excellent way (especially in complex organizations) is accomplished when new leaders are empowered with inspired plans and governance systems that are focused on the future. David gave Solomon “the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind” (1 Chronicles 28:12).

David’s Last Act Was to Give 
This step may be the one most in conflict with how we normally do things. In our day of golden parachutes, severance packages, and retirement gifts, it is customary for leaders to leave with a little extra in their pockets.

But David not only left plans, an organization prepared to work, and treasuries filled ready to build the Temple; David dedicated his own treasure to the success of his successor. He made a lead gift for the capital campaign that challenged the whole community, and secured the building of the Temple. “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord” (1 Chronicles 29:9). 

Fundraising 101 teaches that successful campaigns always include giving from the leaders; an especially successful campaign also includes the full support (and sacrificial giving) of former leaders too.

No comments:

Post a Comment