Let’s assume that most succession failures happen because leaders lack understanding; maybe they don’t think about succession until it’s too late, haven’t studied it, or just plain don’t care. But simply, succession fails because the leader has no one who can replace him. When a man thinks he’s built an empire, he also thinks he’s the only one who can. The real problem is the blindness that comes with pride.
The next possibility is just as devastating: Solving immediate problems and challenges has left no time or energy for the process of succession. But then succession is primarily the passing on of vision, rather than property, projects and people, and the passing on of vision should have begun on the first day out of the gate. Succession is not a matter of good management in the end, but of making disciples all the way through.
The third reason for succession failure is bad choices made in the hand-off, but again, those stem from the underlying pride of only having cared about my turn at bat. Because succession is a matter of vision, whatever motives, wisdom, and choices that brought us this far will naturally carry on into the next generation.
If I have no good sons it’s because I have not been a good father, if I have no good disciples it’s because I have not been a good teacher – this I knew before I ever began.
Remember when you had your first child? The ideals by which you would raise your children were untested. Some smirked at your inexperience and said, “you’ll see,” but raising a family, like succession, is one of those things we are required to do with no previous experience. My kids turned out well because I stuck to my unproven convictions of how to raise children. I didn’t learn them from experience, I found them from the Bible.
Success doesn’t come from experience, it comes from following what’s true, and we all have access to what’s true.
So if we pay attention, follow what God says is true, and refuse pride – we will see an Elijah/Elisha double portion of blessing as our vision succeeds into the next generation.
I follow these ideals from beginning to end:
1. There will be better men than me rise from within my vision.
2. I will invest all I have into them.
3. Obeying God will generate the right choices and ensure succession.
Succession is an innate element of vision.