Story Line: 300 senior ministers (aka managers) from all over the world had gathered in a large hall for the beginning of a leadership summit called by the person who had been crowned the new boss of the organization upon retirement of the previous boss. As it normally happens in such gatherings, after glorifying introductions, the new boss takes the podium to share his vision of the future. Things seem to be going well for the first few minutes until the new boss put up a poster that contained the strategies of his predecessor marked with a huge X over it. Attendees guessed: “Down with the old, Follow the new” was the message. However it puzzled some attendees:
Why did the new boss have to undermine the very person who chose him for the job?
Also anyone who had attended the farewell ceremony of the retiring boss had seen that the legendary Chief Executive of the company and many of the current senior executives had shared their fond memories of the retiring boss and highlighted his immense contributions to the company. In addition the company had asked the retiring boss to stay in the advisory role.
The common sense would indicate not to undermine someone who was leaving with so much respect and also the one who had chosen him as his successor. Why not focus on the future instead of talking about the past?
What kind of example it sets for the employees? More so when it was in the leadership conference that had many sessions emphasizing things like High Ethics, Uncompromising Integrity, Gratitude, Professionalism with examples of the great leaders of mankind.
And even after few years, some members of his staff took opportunities to criticize the strategies of the previous boss; still wondering whether their intent was to please him or to misguide him.
Fast Forward: a few years later…
Only senior members of the organization were called for a meeting. A new person had been appointed to lead that organization. The old boss (his new job "to be defined") was to report to the newly appointed boss and he was asked to be in the meeting. Some of the very members of his staff who in past had helped develop and praised his strategies termed those very strategies as Failures. One of his staff members even went as far as praising the very first boss (the retired one) and talked about the mistake of abandoning some of his strategies.
The old boss did not return to the meeting after lunch break and left the company soon thereafter.
Reflection: You may ask: Why this article and Why Now? In the last thirteen years of these reflections, occasionally I have received notes from the readers stating that FR covers stories that are positive in nature, pump up spirits type etc but “are there stories that are negative sounding and we can learn something from them too?” So here is one with many lessons about work and life.
But the message that stands above all is: The Golden Rule
*This poster is available to purchase from Ontario Multifaith Council and Interfaith Marketplace.