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.
John joined this vital and vibrant church. He felt refreshed during the worship experience. He loved the teachings. He felt God while within the church service. However after the service he felt like an intruder. Coming from an unchurched background, he could not understand the language and the unspoken values of the church. When he tried talking to people he seemed to always violate some unwritten rule of the church. He just did not feel like he belonged. After a few months of being lonely within a crowd, he left the church.
Organisations can easily become too exclusive and inward looking because by nature people tend to lock out those who are new or different. Organisational culture can serve as a deterrent to new members. In business lingo a strong organizational culture may serve as an entry barrier. Introduce a new person to a business and suddenly he feels out of place while the insiders of the organization are also uncomfortable with the stranger. Once the stranger arrives, conversations change and become measured.
Mentorship is a powerful tool to allow a new comer to be inducted into an organization whether it is a church, a business or just a social club. By creating mentorship relationships with new comers it allows them a soft landing into the new environment. The organizational mentor will explain the idiosyncracies of the organization, will answer questions that are embarrassing to ask publicly, will help the new comer to adjust and be accepted by the others. The mentor can help with enculturation by helping the new comer to assimilate and internalise the culture of the organization. Organisational mentors will assist the newcomer to navigate the murky waters of organizational politics. An organizational mentor will introduce the new person into newer relationships thereby widening his circle of friends.
I remember joining a new organization where during social outings I would spend more time to myself because the organization seemed full of cliques and I could not tell whether I was welcome into any of them. Any attempt to speak to some of the veterans, brought embarrassment as I could not be sure whether I was welcome into the closed clique. It appeared like I was disturbing a certain level of intimacy that had developed within the group. Could I be trusted? I was beginning to consider myself a misfit within the organization when one of the leaders took me under his wings and introduced me to people. Once I had the cover of this leader, I was now accepted into the fraternity. The mentor walked me through the formal and informal power centres within the organization. This greatly helped my assimilation and induction.
It is therefore critical to ensure some form of organizational induction through a “buddy” to new comers. Churches and organizations lose people who are interested in their cause due to lack of proper induction. Mentorship can and will help reduce this loss. It leads to retention of members. It has been proven that a key to retention of members within an organisation is a strong network of informal social relationships. Mentorshipsbuilds a strong web of informal relationships which help produce a sense of identity and belonging.
Churches and businesses could mobilise, deploy and retain new skills faster and longer through organisational mentorship.
Mentoring is a developmental process that enables the mentor to increase his influence beyond his own geographical and generational location. It enables the creation of a lasting legacy. It increases the mentor’s footprint. “Source: Nurturing Champions”
Many leaders resent the time required to mentor people because they feel that mentorship only benefits the protege. This is one sided and erroneous view of mentorship. Mentors increase their influence (- and therefore their leadership reach) by mentoring others. A mentor shapes the value system, thought process and world view of his protege. In this way the mentor is able to influence -(and since leadership can be defined as influence) – people who are beyond his geographical reach. For example I mentored a young man who is now ministering in Australia – since he still cherishes the values that I taught him, I am influencing people in Australia without ever getting there. Therefore mentorship extends my leadership reach and influence past my current location.
One of my mentors has gone on to be with the Lord, but because my decision making process is still shaped by his influence, it follows that his leadership has transcended his generational reach. The people I mentor will be influenced by my mentor though they have never met him. Mentorship helps the mentor pass on his values to the next generation.
Mentorship uses a principle of leverage to increase and multiply a leader’s leadership influence. It helps mentors perpetuate their legacies by touching and influencing the next generation’s influencers. I deliberately and intentionally choose to mentor others in order to increase my influence.
In satellite technology the area covered by a satellite’s reach is called its footprint. In mentorship the extent of your influence — what others may call your circle of influence – is the extent of your leadership footprint. Is your footprint limited to your physical reach? If so you can increase it through mentorship.
One of my mentors is Prof Don Mitchell who supervised my doctoral studies with Rushmore Online University. We have never met but his influence is evident in my life. Prof Mitchell has impacted so many people whom he has never met. His footprint is quite large.
The benefits of mentorship to the protege are well known. They are also detailed in my book Nurturing Champions.
I therefore argue that mentorship benefits both the mentor and protege.
I define mentorship as a dynamic relational experience of trust that enables a mature person to nurture, train and empower another person to grow into his destiny by sharing God-given resources. Source: Nurturing Champions.
The critical aspects are that mentors release their God given resources e.g. their time, occasionally their finances, wisdom and network of relationships to facilitate another person’s dream. In other words mentorship is not cheap labour whereby the mentor uses the protege (or mentee) for the fulfilment of the mentor’s dream. Mentorship is the other-person focused.
Mentorship involves nurturing and empowering the other person. It stands to reason therefore that true mentorship will result in an empowered protege who is not dependent on the mentors but who can think and express his/her own opinion confidently. A well mentored person should be able to move on past the mentoring relationship on his own and tackle life alone. He does not have to be eternally dependent on the mentor. As a matter of fact the relationship can transition from being mentor-protege to being peers and colleagues on an equal status.
Mentorship is a dynamic relationship which does not have set a formula but is dependent on the parties involved, their personalities and time and resource constraints. It follows that a mentor does not relate to all his/her proteges in the same way. Each mentoring relationship is tailored to suit the individuals involved.
The mentoring relationship is an experience for both the mentor and mentee. It is a relational issue with all the underlying dynamics to relationships requiring consideration. It cannot be a transactional experience where the protege seeks to get what he wants with no obligation to a relationship.
It is a relationship based on trust. Trust and confidentiality are critical for a beneficial mentoring relationship. Neither the mentor nor the protege should abuse information shared in confidence. Trust is earned and therefore this takes time.The strength of the relationship enables the training and empowerment of the protege.
Mentorship allows both the mentor and protege to grow as they learn from each other. It is a developmental process. Mentorship in the new economy does not include the “download” syndrome where the mentor is the source of all wisdom who downloads to an empty head of a protege which is ready to be filled. But mentorship is a an interactive learning and growth process for both mentor and protege. The mentor then serves as chief learner in the process.
By the word mature person in our definition we are not referring to age but to experience in the sphere of mentorship. In other words a younger person who is more experienced can mentor an older person. For example my 12year old daughter Faith, introduced me to and mentored me concerning the workings of Facebook as a social networking tool.
Pursue mentoring relationships for growth and impact.
Nurturing Champions Blog is a place where Rapha Trust and its founder Dr T. A. Makoni will seek to hasten champions along the way by nurturing and empowering them. Welcome to the training ground of champions.
A young cub though it has all the potential to become the King of the Jungle is vulnerable when newly born, it therefore needs to be nurtured and protected until it is well groomed and well trained to go tackle the jungles alone.
Nurturing Champion Blog is a place for champions to be recognized, trained and nurtured to fulfill their God given dream and pursue their destiny. Its a place for the release of potential. Its the place to learn to roar. Its a place of watering your dreams to fruition.
I encourage you to engage in dialogue as we pursue the call and destiny of God upon our lives.
Check out our recent books: Nurturing Champions – a manual on mentorship and Entrepreneurship On Trial – a manual for entrepreneurs in the developing world from http://www.lulu.com