I’ll never forget the response I got from my boss when I was sitting in my executive director chair, when I gave him my resignation—with a long leash of time.
His response…”Who’s your successor?”
The question caught me by surprise. Both because my naive and newly executive-level tenure hadn’t ever been asked that before and because I hadn’t had a clue in that moment who really was up for the task. Besides, why would it be my responsibility to find, recruit, train and on-board a new executive director? Wasn’t that his?
After the dust settled a bit, I did have the answer and a successor just about ready to go, but hadn’t realized it. She was my assistant academic director. Thankfully I had invested a good part of my year coaching and mentoring her on my methodology of people management, to which I was extremely proud of her development. And while she was a bit on the young side, she had harnessed the hard and soft skills, attitude and motivation of an aspiring leader.
Looking back I’m grateful for the time I invested in developing her, because it’s best to develop others before the need arises. It prevents a crisis culture and rocky on-boarding, which is never the best way.
But in life, even with proper succession planning, it just doesn’t work out all the time. And very often I find myself wishing I could download all the leadership knowledge and insight that I’ve gained through the years to my clients and colleagues. But you just can’t. (Maybe someday they’ll invent a human USB. Wouldn’t that be a hoot!)
The good news is, there is a way to accelerate leadership growth and development.
Immersion learning has been proven the best way to help leaders learn and apply new behaviors because it incorporates the three learning modalities: Heart, Mind, Body. Reading a book, attending a conference, or hiring a coach won’t have quite the impact on their own.
And I have to admit I’m a little biased when it comes to immersion learning because of the program I represent—our Global Institute of Leadership Development that features a rock-star faculty lineup including Jim Collins, Dave Logan, Patrick Lencioni, Jeremy Gutsche, and Marshall Goldsmith, just to name a few.
And the cool thing about GILD is that you get much more than just the incredible faculty. Participants also receive a personalized 360 leadership assessment applied against our universal High Impact Leadership Model, three hours of one-on-one executive coaching and 11 hours of facilitated peer learning to fully immerse the knowledge given.
No other program in the world can compare.
GILD isn’t for the faint of heart. But it is for the individual or company looking to provide emerging leaders with the tools to become GREAT. Period.
So, if you are wondering what happened to my former school…
In the end, my boss didn’t take my advice on who to hire, and ended up hiring from the outside.
Within a year, he failed… miserably.