2 Chronicles 6:16
Now, LORD, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’
The above was Solomon’s Prayer reminding God of His Promise
If you read that verse carefully, it was a commitment that had a contingency attached to it. There is a condition that they be careful in all they do, to walk before God according to His law in order to qualify as a successor.
So what makes this matter? What is succession anyway? Let’s peek at the dictionary definition
- a number of people or things sharing a specified characteristic and following one after the other:
“she had been secretary to a succession of board directors”
a group of strata representing a single chronological sequence:
“the Cretaceous succession”
- the action or process of inheriting a title, office, property, etc.:
“the new king was already elderly at the time of his succession”
“the succession to the Crown was disputed”
What you notice in all the definitions and formats, is that succession implies linkage, not just subtle linkage but to some extent overt linkage. So how should it be approached in the workplace or in a serious organization? Who should be considered and why? What should be the expectation out of a successful succession?
We will talk about this through a series of questions some of which are above
Why is succession necessary?
Succession preserves the true doctrine of the organization, its DNA as it moves forward
The goal of succession is simply to preserve what is true about the organization as it moves forward. To install a successor, you want to make sure that him / her has been trained with the true doctrine of the organisation and has witnessed the impact and outcomes of those doctrines so that they can teach it to others. This is the act of identifying the DNA, preserving it and then stamping it on to others. This is where many falter as they ascend leadership. They want to do it their way, change everything, move in a different direction. How is this possible if I am to be cookie cutter of the person before me?
The truth is that true doctrines do not interfere with your style much like have passed down DNA does not negate your uniqueness. This about it this way. The people that came before you built up that organization with at least two fundamental purposes, the functional and intrinsic.
This is what we do, what we make, what we build, what we buy, how we make money, how we grow, how we build things, when we expand etc. These are all the processes that ultimately take us to the external and physically perceivable successes. The way we compete, the things people see and note us for. From these people draw conclusions and decide if we are successful or not, if we are worthy or not etc. These are seen clearly, there are facts you can pull from it. They can be analysed and counted. The strategies that achieve the above can be modified as the market changes as the dynamics of the economies change or may be dictated by trends in technology, habits and hypes.
The intrinsic purpose takes the form of who we are when we make those things, who are we when we make money, what is our core nature, it speaks to what we want to become. It is basically on display to the internal senses and perceivable without being able to handle it. This is imparted to the faithful to preserve and retain. It ensures that there are boundaries no matter how tempting, it manifests as wisdom, strength within the storms. It carries oversight wider than what is seen and insights deeper than what is known. This is what gives you the guts to turn down an opportunity that on face value looks good, because you know it does not fit with the “who we are or we want to become”. These live on through the faithful, they harness and feed on the activities that exercise them. They grow with learning, practice and doing, they only change or die through abandonment.
Who should be considered and why?
The archetype of a good successor
Good succession allows the same favorable outcomes and accesses that were with the predecessor to be bestowed on the successor
Choosing a good successor must have the right goal in mind. One must recognise that with succession the organisation may not retain all its functional purpose but it must be able to retain all its intrinsic functions by this guidance you can determine the successor archetype
- Capable of generating the established favorable outcomes – He / she must be capable of generating the same favors and grace accorded by virtue of character – so a principled person. The only way to do this is to walk closely with the predecessor to breathe their air, eat their food and drink their water in order to access the same innate wisdom available for access.
- Faithful and teachable – A successor must learn from the predecessor, observe keenly to know the organizations doctrines
- BE a witness – A good successor must engage witnesses and be a witness to how things really run and specific outcomes– seeing is believing, so they ought to have seen the many ways intrinsic decisions are made, they ought to see outcomes of the unacceptable and why that was so. They ought to see the contrast between the organization’s attitude and their competition.
- Committed to teach others – A good successor must be able to and be committed to teach others, because just like them, developing the right people for the future ensures the healthy lifespan of the organization
- Committed to the gain and outcome – A successor must be hardworking and committed to the gain of the organization, just like they must receive the doctrine in truth, they too must be truth tellers, clearly delineating what they understand or not.
- Willing to lead – A good successor must be willing to be one. Carrying a transfused DNA is no joke, consent to one’s will to do it is important. They must not be compelled to the cause by outside force but be compelled by an inner desire to be part of the lineage of the organization
What is the outcome for an organization with a good successor ?
A good successor delivers more than tangible countable success they also in tandem deliver a “promise of tomorrow”. Their platforms don’t disappear, and they build legacies.
- A good successor will preserve, retain and disburse – a good successor does not squander the time of leadership so that they can deposit all that is required and be ready to help another through once it is time to leave
- A good successor delivers on wisdom, knowledge, and skill – he/she must amass a lot of these three to deposit on all they touch in the organization. This is to ensure the organization survives and even thrives, per adventure their successor does not possess the required traits but instead wastes the deposited values. If the deposit is high, it can carry the organization through disasters
- The organisation will grow in success both functionally and intrinsically, it will be preserved from calamity and its dynamism will grow
- The organisation will outlive the successors term – this is critical as a good successor must prepare the organization and the successor for the next phase, so he/she must deliver with audacity an organisation shaped by his predecessors’ leadership, now by his and ready to be shaped by another all traversing across the same intrinsic DNA that connects them all.
- Another key outcome is that the organisation will have a profound reflection on the contributions of the successor, it will clearly differentiate each leaders contribution and distinctly identify each unique “print” while concatenating the characteristics that make it steady.
The truth is that there are many that are “quantified” to run an organization but are they “qualityfied”? they are ready and fired up, they have the skills and the training and smarts and the education, but are they qualityfied? If they do not carry the heart, the intrinsic part, the part you must listen to with invisible senses; if such a one becomes the successor, they will kill off the very thing that makes that organization itself. The quantity of capability and the quality of heart is what creates the qualification.
A good successor must have more than head knowledge, they must have heart knowledge!
About Ngozi Bell
Take a listen to this podcast Say It Skillfully® OUR VOICES – Ngozi & Okezue Bell, Carpe Diem! Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (voiceamerica.com)
Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C.Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work
experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).