A Wrenching Decision
When to leave poses one of the most wrenching decisions a Chief Executive must make. The rules are simple. The path to a good decision is not. But any leader owes it to his outfit to leave on a high note that paves the way to future success of his team. To help light the way, one should periodically pose a set of questions:
* Are you still making a unique, creative contribution to the enterprise that adapts its mission to new realities and materially contributes to mission accomplishment?
* Because of experience, energy, and exclusive competence, and perhaps the current risks to the enterprise, are you making a temporarily indispensible contribution to the success of the organization, without which it may fail?
* Are there unmet commitments for accomplishment of objectives you have made to the Board or Chain of Command or key investors that are your responsibility to achieve?
Any leader will tend to see himself as uniquely creative, exclusively competent, and responsible for outstanding commitments. To ensure a balanced assessment, one must address these questions with the Board or Command Authorities in a periodic and open way. Accordingly, the Board or senior authorities overseeing the organization have a responsibility to ensure validity and accuracy of the joint assessment and for giving honest feedback. Occasionally they must make the tough call that the leader should move on.
In any circumstance the decision made, the leader owes to his people a departure that conveys to the troops the satisfaction of having served with them and that affirms the way ahead.
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