In Africa one of the major challenges is that of succession planning. There is so much controversy around it. Despite the fact that the well known dictum clearly states – there is no success without a successor, many churches, business and political organisations still leave the issue of succession to chance. However leaders who are concerned about leaving a legacy will not allow the important matter of who carries on the baton and takes over their mantle to chance or political infighting. These leaders deliberately create a leadership pipeline that has intentionally mentored and groomed people who can easily fill in the shoes of the leader if he departs the scene.
Many on the African continent prefer to have the decision of who succeeds them to be settled after their death. Unfortunately it means you cannot help shape the person who should be perpetuating your legacy. In businesses if the leader recruits from outside it means he is admitting to leadership failure. He is conceding to the fact that as a leader he failed in one of the primary functions of a leader which is developing other leaders. A new comer from the outside is likely to change things and nullify a lot of what this predecessor has done. He has no commitment to continuing the legacy of his predecessor. Whereas a protégé will build upon the foundation laid by his mentor. This is how legacy is perpetuated. Leaders do not leave your ;legacy to chance. You can mentor and raise up your successors so that they continue to build on what you have done. This allows for trans-generational impact.
A purposeful leader will deliberately take some young generation candidates and mentor them so that they can easily fill in the top post once the leader is gone. The other issue is that ideally succession should happen while the primary leader is still alive so that he can act as elder statesmen and counselor to the next generation. In both business and politics this assures that the elder statesmen will be able to provide a steadying hand to the new leader as he learns how to run the show. It is therefore negligent of a leader to allow chance to produce his successor. Mentorship therefore allows for a smoother transition of power.
Mentorship allows a leader to pass on his values, philosophy and worldview to the person that he is mentoring. By passing on these the leader ensures that his values and philosophy will live on in the organization.
The Bible records numerous successions which went on well due to mentorship. Examples are Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Joshua, Abraham mentored Isaac, Samuel mentored David, Paul mentored Timothy etc. A classic modern day business example is Jack Welch who mentored about three potential successors. Although only one was chosen to lead GE, the other two both went on to become powerful CEO in other organizations.
It is clear that we need to intentionally mentor and raise the next generation of leaders to allow for smoother transitions as well as longer lasting impact. A mentored successor will have assimilated the organizational culture and therefore is unlikely to change it radically. I would encourage introducing new leaders from the outside if the organization is failing and new ideas are needed. If the organization is well run and doing well i.e. if the leader was successful, then he should allow the transition to happen from inside.
If yor succession is well planned and potential succesors are mentored to prolongs your leadership influence.