For seven weeks, we're using this space to give voice to what it took to run Design Group International successfully. These largely match my remaining weeks as a Founder, CEO, and Chair of the Design Group International Partnership. I'm moving to advisory status with a lot of growing work ahead of me as an Executive Advisor, podcaster, and facilitator for Maestro-level leaders. These posts hope for a two-fold benefit: that it will be a repository for successors (It is my responsibility to provide it and theirs to discern any appropriate use) and to inspire others facing their exit or stepping in as a successor.
What is Design Group International's baton? What exactly do you hold as our relay race progresses?
It is too simple to say "company vision" or "enterprise leadership." If the metaphor of running a relay holds, vision corresponds with the finish line. Leadership would be running in the lane as effectively as possible while contributing to the overall team result. The baton is something different- handed from one to another while running a race.
Financial minds might contend that what gets handed off are the keys to the business and its assets. Marketers might say the baton is the responsibility for the brand. Human Resources might point to talent development and culture. Organizational Development types like me might emphasize intellectual property and workflows.
I believe I handed off a tube filled with our DNA: our way of being as we walk alongside Clients.
If our baton of leadership for a renewing and growing enterprise is a barely perceptible set of elements out of which everything grows, what constitutes ours? Before I say more, I need to express two fears.
(1) You might need to care more about this to understand our DNA and make it yours with the intention of further replication. Without appropriate care,, you end up focused on doing just your part in the enterprise instead of being that from which our enterprise grows. We might run for some years yet, but the building blocks of its life will have dissipated.
(2) You might need a greater understanding of our DNA to recognize the required adjustments. The fear here is that any changes will come haphazardly from neglect or our making decisions for short-term convenience or individual gain rather than continuing to grow our reputation as Process Consulting's thoughtful and wise thought leaders.
This way of being sits suspended within the baton I've handed off -- a formula hidden in plain sight. It's powered our enterprise. It is in your hands now.
Listening = our posture
Helping = our partnership
Learning = our service
We built out this DNA into the Core Competencies of Process Consulting. So, yes, we do these competencies. And yes, the fruit of doing them are Client artifacts that contribute to a knowledge base that helps us facilitate complex discussions or provide a resource in new situations. But underneath is our way of being that produced that fruit now handed to you.
Our listening posture means we do our internal work to be non-anxious and not just when we are with a Client facing daunting complexity.
Our helping partnership is something we do out of who we are- a give first people- not just because we are trolling for business.
Our service in learning means we are open to learning even more as we offer framing insight. We draw learning out and pass it along rather than gather it in and store it up.
Let me put this in story form by comparing the bigger barn stories found in Hebrew and Christian scripture. The first story is of King Hezekiah ordering up larger granaries to better distribute food among his people. As a result, his people prospered further and were grateful. The second story is of the rich fool who accumulated so much that he built new storage to keep his wealth nearby while taking his ease. But, unfortunately, this man was judged selfish, and his life was forfeit.
Such a contrast! And it is easy to see which story touches the DNA of our Community of Practice. Listening, helping, and learning is our way of being. Out of it, the vibrant futures of our Clients are imagined and engaged.
Listening, helping, and learning form the baton handed to you. Its visibility and quality are under your governorship, stewardship, success, or failure.
Let's be found doing our being.
Tags:process consulting, Process consultation and design, leadership succession, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn Podcast, Kristin Evenson, stewardship of a successor, Multi-dimensional transition planning, Third Turn Blog, Transition planning, Linda Milwanowski-Westdorp
December 29, 2022