In creating this blog post and making this announcement I wanted to schedule a photo shoot with Tina Banks, my successor for one of my training programs. I wanted us to get all made up in our fitness gear and makeup (oh the irony) and pose in some staged pose that symbolizes a passing of the torch. After weeks of conflicting schedules I gave up. It finally hit me the day before yesterday. True succession is not about photo shoots and perfect hair.
We took this snapshot after one of our many two hour long succession plan meetings that usually starts off with Girl Talk and segue into conversation about life, God, growth, leadership development, encouragement, and mentoring.
I’m passing the leadership of the Sole Patrol training series on to Tina Banks; someone who is highly capable of taking it to the next level. I totally believe in her and my heart is at a place where I can celebrate her in that.
So why am I stepping down? There were no moral failings. Nobody fell out with anyone. No one is about to die. And to be honest I don’t have a bigger or better project on the cusp. I just know that in my personal prayer time coupled with the observation of Tina’s growth in leadership it is time for me to step aside and encourage her growth as a leader.
Now in my 32 years of living I have never witnessed anyone step away from a leadership position blamesless, in full health, and with no big time upgrade type of new position they are stepping to. I didn’t say this type of stepping down is impossible. It’s something I have yet to witness. This entire process of succession has led me to raise the question, what if it’s not about me stepping down but grooming someone else to step up? Do I feel I control Tina’s progress? Most certainly not. However, as a leader I feel my words of affirmation (according to God’s word) and ability to create a space for her to lead (according to God’s will) pushes the both of us into a place of living out God’s word. And to be totally honest, I desire her to take the program to higher heights. Then I came across this verse and everything made sense.
Wait a minute! The thing that I never realized about this verse is that the whole time (3 years) Jesus walked the earth with the 12 disciples He knew that one day He would leave them and in Him leaving He would position them to do greater things than he did. Wow! Now please note that the word believe in this verse means to have faith, confidence, and fidelity.
This revelation blew my mind and continues to do a work within me in regards to how I lead and desire to be led. It gives me a greater reverence for Jesus and his leadership. Now I’m excited about going back to read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from a new vantage point.
As a Christian who happens to be an entrepreneur (and also a leader in the church), what does this scripture mean for me? Well, right now in my life I shouldn’t be afraid to pour into someone with the expectation they will do great things, perhaps greater than what I’m capable of doing. I have strong sentiments about the negative effects of one’s failure to step down or move around when their season is up and what that does to a group, company, or church. But I’ll save that for one on one conversations.
Back to Tina, Monisha, running, and coaching: where are we now? Chuck Miller of the Barnabas Project identifies this succession style of leadership in four phases:
Stage 1: “I do it—you are observing.”
Stage 2: “I do it—you are with me.”
Stage 3: “You do it—I’m in the background encouraging.”
Stage 4: “You do it—I’m with you in spirit.”
We are currently in Stage 3. In the upcoming weeks you’ll receive information about an upcoming Sole Patrol running clinic. Just know that when you read the advertisement, great things are happening and a passing of the baton is in place. This process has taught me so much about God’s order and timing. As for self-discovery, I don’t even know where to start. I look forward to seeing the Sole Patrol participants support Tina like they have supported me. Correction: I look forward to witnessing the Sole Patrol 5K Program excel higher than it has ever been under my leadership.
As for my next running project, I’ll keep you posted on what God does.