Exiting Leadership 

I just posted this comment to an internal blog and thought I'd share it with you as well. It was in response to an article about How To Exit Leadership, the point of which was basically succession planning and letting go. The original post can be seen at HBSP. The internal post was posed by someone considering his eventual exit as leader of a special interest group within the company. He asked for perspective from others of us internally and here is my response...

I had two recent semi-exit experiences. First, I was coordinator for the P&G CoRec Softball League for 5 years. As I got more involved in other activities, I decided to "exit". This was my first real experience with exiting leadership and I failed miserably - the league almost disappeared. Okay, so it wasn't really that bad, but participation did take a dip. There was no board, no stearing team, and certainly no clear plan of succession. I handed over the role with one transition meeting to the only volunteer who responded. Granted, I continued to participate in the league and gave a little guidance here and there. In the end, we maintained the status quo. Two years later, this coordinator came back to me basically indicating that he was ready to exit. He was less prepared to handle succession than I was and I let him put the job back in my lap. This time I have selected a young talent whom I believe to have great leadership potential. My hope is that he will revive the league and maybe even take the league places we have never been. I also plan to more actively mentor him on leadership and succession planning. Hopefully the next coordinator will be identified and groomed before the next exit.

My second experience was with the YWCPS. As the Volunteer Chair, I built and utilized a committee. I was lucky enough to have many capable leaders on that committee and one of them became my successor. I am still close enough to provide feedback when she asks for it, but she is already running the committee better than I ever did. The only thing I hope to do differently in my new role as Marketing Chair (in addition to improving my leadership) is to identify and groom potential successors earlier.

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Great Cruise! 

Hey, third entry this year! I'm off to a decent start. It will probably be another week before I get our cruise pictures online, but here are some thoughts on the experience.

Overall we had a great time and I'd give Princess a 4.5 star rating (out of 5) for this cruise. The itinterary was just plain awesome. It will be obvious from our pics which islands we were most excited about - the ones we hadn't been to. Actually, the visibility in the Virgin Islands was no good for snorkeling this time, so it forced a much different experience on us, even though we had been to those islands before. The only reason I wouldn't give the trip a 5 star rating is because we had such a blast on our Holland America trip. The crew just did all of the little things that gave them an edge - from chocolates on the pillows to towel animals to absolutely fantastic dining stewards. The staff on Princess was great too, very professional and even a touch of fun - but just not as fun as our HAL staff.

Much more to come when the pics and videos are up, but just to tease you a little, you'll get to see video of a live lobster on the ocean floor, a sea turtle, an octopus, and even a flounder - oh wait, that was just me after the rum punch snuck up on me. :-)
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2007 In Review 

Don't forget to check out our annual newsletter if you haven't read it already.

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It's been two years? 

Wow, I can't believe it's been 2 years since I last blogged. As I was typing an update to a friend, I thought this might be a better place to do it. I'll give it another try anyway.

Martha has one of those illnesses thats going around sore throat and low fever, but not strep we think. Shes pretty miserable. I think my new diet and exercise regimen is keeping me healthy, knock on wood.

We bought a membership to our community center at the beginning of the year and weve been going 2-3 days every week. I think this may be the first time Ive lifted regularly for more than 3 weeks. It feels good. My diet basically consists of a multi-grain English muffin and a shake (1/3 cup of egg whites blended with 2/3 cup of fruit juice and 1c of frozen fruit) in the morning, a mid-morning apple, a light lunch heavy on the vegetables (V8 usually), a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack, a light dinner, and a multi-grain snack (Frosted mini-wheats) before bed. I have lost about 15 pounds since Jan 1. Granted, I put on about 7 pounds over the holidays. Pretty good overall though. Our Spring Break cruise has been one of my main motivations. In January, I set a goal of losing 1 pound per week until the cruise with a stretch of 1.5 pounds per week. After a slight set-back, I was at my target for Friday mornings weigh-in.

Were pretty excited about this cruise. Weve (Ive) been planning it since October or something like that. Let me know if this is something you might be interested in doing with us in the future.

Anyway, Ive already started the web site where Ill post our pictures ( http://www.KevinAndMartha.com/Cruise2008 ). Im also using it to keep track of our excursion decisions and information about each of the islands well be visiting. Were flying down to San Juan a night early (just to be safe). The ship will go to Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas (USVI), and Tortola (BVI) before returning to San Juan.

Lets see what else is going on? Same old same old at work. My team has made a lot of operational changes since Ive joined. Its been exciting to see opportunities in this assignment rather than just do whats expected. My last group did a much better job of this whole application development thing. So Ive been able to reapply some of their practices. Were also going to be going through some organizational changes soon. Hopefully my reporting structure wont change much. I chose this group for the people as much as the work.
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Flu Bug? 

How fun is it to spend a holiday weekend in bed? Not much fun. Saturday night, Jan 14, was the first time in years that I have been sick enough to "lose my lunch". At first, I thought maybe the movie was to blame - Sideways was nominated for awards? Put it up for WORST movie of the year - and I'm not hard to please when it comes to movies.

Okay, but no movie could make me throw up 3 times in one night. No, I thought maybe it was the food I ate. Mexican on Friday night, 3 slices of bowling alley pepperoni and sausage pizza on Saturday afternoon along with a pack of Twizzlers, a York Peppermint Pattie, white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and then a greasy burger for dinner on Saturday evening. Needless to say, my stomach was not happy by the end of the evening. By about midnight, it began returning its contents. :-) And again at 2am. And again at 4am. Yuck.

I was so tired on Sunday that I slept most of the day. By Monday, I was feeling better, but still exhausted and sore. My chest was tight from all the exercise. Needless to say I didn't get much work done on the Patio Roof.

Anyway, thank goodness I had a healthy weekend this past weekend. I was able to actually get some work done. I now have 2 of the 4 beam sections up. Call the overall project about 30% done maybe? I'll have to check my Microsoft Project plan. ;-) You think I'm joking, but I'm serious. :-)
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