With the passing of years Lori and I became increasingly aware of how seldom leaders “pass the baton” with excellence. We witnessed some real “train wrecks” as aging leaders refused to “let go of the reins” or prolonged their “reigns” by ensuring competent staff moved elsewhere before posing a threat to their thrones.
We saw inept boards fail to step up to the challenge of instituting a healthy process, sometimes treating the outgoing leader shabbily. Only a handful of observed transitions were stellar.
At my urging, more than four years ago LIFE’s board collectively took ownership of our succession process. Select board members, a couple of core LIFE staff and a key adviser comprised the Succession Team.
A detailed plan was put into place, including timelines for deliverables ending in selection of our new director by December 2018. Subcommittees dealt with critical process elements including internal analysis, candidate search, and transition planning. The plan was altered a couple of times to meet contingent realities but stayed on course.
Undergirding the plan was much prayer. And a strong sense that our Sovereign God was guiding our steps.
The journey took some twists and turns, but by December 2018 we ended where we desired to be: the selection of God’s choice leader. Levi Hazen, who has ably served with LIFE for eight years, most recently as Associate Director, is that godly and gifted successor who will take the ministry far beyond what my limited abilities could achieve. He will be installed as LIFE’s 13th Executive Director on August 1. Praise the Lord with us!!
We say a huge “thank you” to all who contributed so meaningfully to our lives. We hope you’ll include Levi and Stephanie in your prayers as they step up to face the challenges ahead (much better prepared than I was!).
And we’d appreciate your continued prayers as Lori continues in her present administrative role and I begin my new LIFE ministry as Global Ambassador, seeking to assist Levi and the LIFE family in the best ways possible. THANK YOU!
God has been faithful to LIFE for 132 years. We believe the best is yet to come, should the Lord delay His return! “May all who come behind us find us faithful.”
Executive Director Emeritus at last (and newly-appointed Global Ambassador)
Are you planning for leadership transition in your church or organization? Are you mentoring younger leaders to step into key roles, now and in the future?
Who takes the leadership chair in case of an unexpected resignation, health setback, or worse? Every ministry should have an emergency plan for such contingencies.
Most organizations don’t have a four-year runway to prepare for leadership transition like LIFE did. This gave us time to prepare our process, which included surveying our staff, analyzing our “DNA” (distilling LIFE’s culture, values, mission and vision was one of the best outcomes of the process), a SWOT analysis, tweaking the job description, and developing a profile of our ideal desired leader. You don’t have to wait until leadership transition is imminent to begin those steps.
We’d be glad to share some of the resources we used to develop our process. Write to us at [email protected] and ask for “Succession Team Resources.” We’d love to see many more stellar transitions in Kingdom ministries, to the praise of God’s glory!