Senior management options LO28500

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 05/15/02

Replying to LO28481 --

Hello Bob, dear readers,

Interesting case. I have learned that good team work is best acheived
within a clear structure of responsibilities. So I'd strive for one new
"boss" and a new team tember. Teams of 5 work best.

Who's problem it? I assume that the person who is going to retire feels
responsible for his job and wants to facilitate the transition. I also
assume that he or she is aware of the role a leader: what is required in
this specific environment and what the organisation needs from a leader.
Write these down. I personally like to frame this in Kolb's learning
styles, see The Fieldbook or use the Myers_briggs Type Indicator.

I'd say that it would require a dialogue between the team members, perhaps
one that should be supported by an outside facilitator. The idea is to
pause for a while, suspend judgement, listen, share and identify
assumptions - on the requirements of the job and the views held by the
participants -, appriciate each other, learn and develop - if you assume
that a solution has to be created - or release - if you assume that the
solution is already there - the specific outcomes.

After a warming up, the facilitator states the purpose of the meeting, the
desired outcome. Every participants gets time, about 1 to 2 hours, to
speak about what moves him or her, what he or she wants, needs, brings,
sees. Balance inquiry and advocacy. Write the ideas and conclusions on
cards. Compare the outcomes with the requirements for the job, for
instance in the following way:

One method could be a version of "your place in the organisation": lay
down the cards on the "table". See McWhinney, Creating Paths of Change,
page 170. Define a large organisation scheme, circle(s), square, triangle
of arrow - this would depend on the actual situation and arrange together
the cards on the floor. Then the participants move around and take up a
position on the floor. There might be competition for the same spot. The
facilitator ask everybody the reasons for taking up that position. Have a
conversation on the arguments. Perhaps a solution presents itself. If not,
then the "boss" who is going to leave decides: it might be the last thing
he or she wants to do, but such is life.

A completely other solution would be to put the names in a vase, make an
offering to the local gods, let somebody draw one name and celebrate with
a meal.

All the best,

Jan Lelie

Bob Williams wrote:

> A colleague for a non-profit has just asked for some advice that members
> of this list may be able to contribute.
> The "boss" of this not-for-profit is soon to retire and all four of the
> next level of managers intend to apply for his job. It is a pretty
> collaboratively run organisation, so this spins a potential series of
> actions and consequences, which my colleague (who is one of the four)
> would like to know how to promote and handle.


With kind regards - met vriendelijke groeten,

Jan Lelie

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