Unfortunately, I have had my share of concussions. First, it was youth football. Today its from packed snow while skiing and chip-seal while cycling.
I was recently diagnosed with another concussion. The diagnose was three weeks after the head bang. For a few weeks, I didn’t have good balance, forgot things and had higher levels of anger. It was an odd existence first diagnosed by my wife’s observation and then the doctor’s examination.
The same time as my physcial concussion, our organization experienced a corporate concussing. Our President and CEO of 12-years announced that, at 73-years old and having completed what he had set out to do, he would be moving on. It was a bonk on the head of our busy business world.
This isn’t my first CEO transition. I’ve been through others. One was a violent bonk, after an SEC investigation and firing by the Board. The other was a long process that still doesn’t seem entirely complete even though a new president is at the desk. It may not have been violent but was no less challenging because of the length.
Not unlike a concussion on a person, an organization is impacted…
Lack of Balance — Everyone can feel a little out of whack with a CEO transition. The higher you go in the chain, the more the unbalance. People wonder about their own job. There can be a general lack of security.
Memory Loss — In wondering about the future, organizations can drift. “Will our mission objectives change?” People can put mission work on hold or even lose sight all together as they spend their energy on future thinking rather than current implementation. “Should I do this if our leadership is changing?”
Anger — Yes, anger. Some internal employees won’t be considered for the job and they think they should be. Some won’t like the selection. Insiders may even apply and get mad for not getting the job. There can be frustration, disappointment and outright anger.
So what do you do? How shall you respond in the midst of a transition?
I couldn’t find a concussion protocol in the Bible, but I did find Jesus, Inc., a Family of Ministries, being rocked. It’s in Mark 4 starting at verse 35.
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36a Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.
Jesus kept moving. He didn’t look to be the new CEO of the crowd. He knew his mission and he kept after it. The next step in the Great Mission was to step into a boat. What is your next step in your portion of the organization?
36b There were also other boats with him.
You may want to invite other people into this transition period with you. Gather advisers that have experience in managing change. Ask for their help. Ask them to pray. This is a key season, you will need as much help as you can get.
Not all boats are there to help. Some are just there to watch …criticize …complain …critique. I wish this wasn’t the case, but it is true. Everyone one, fans and critics, are watching your organization in this season. You are being watched, please act like it.
37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
This boat is in a serious storm. There is a strong possibility that it may sink. Your organization probably will not fold during this season. That would be rare. This is none the less a very serious time for your mission and you should act as such. Your firm is in a furious squall. Everyone needs to be aware and on-point, doing top notch work.
38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
Jesus was asleep. While in the storm, he was doing the very human act of napping. Everyone does it. Not a big deal. You will notice in the life of Jesus that some of his most human of activities are followed by the most miraculous of results. Take for example, his death.
Hiring a new CEO is a very human task. Every corporation does it, some many times. A proper view of a CEO hiring is that this will be more than just a human act. This will be an chance to take a human action and move the organization into miraculous opportunities.
38b The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
The disciples called on Jesus. There is no more important action. In the midst of your corporate transition or your own personal insecurity around a transition, call on Jesus. He is the great teacher who is ready and available to help.
I also find it interesting that they ask if he “cares.” Not “Save us!” or “Get up!” but “Do you care?” In the midst of a transition, those in your organization will wonder if anyone, including their boss and peers, cares. Show you care. Say you care. I have a personal aspiration during our current transition to tell two dudes a day, “I love you.” It’s important for folks to know that someone cares.
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
The result of calling on Jesus was a miracle. It doesn’t say that the wind and waves simply died down. No. Everything went immediately calm. Jesus is going to do (actually is doing) miracles in your organization, especially in this season. Be on the look out for them. What amazing thing is God going to do? Note them. Talk about them. Celebrate them. They are going to happen (again, they already are).
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
At the end of this interaction, the disciples are left asking “Who is this?” They were afraid of a storm but when they saw what Jesus did, they had a great fear.
My hope is that when you get to the other side of this CEO transition that every individual will be moved to exclaim, “Wow!” Ask, “How did that happen?” And consider the greatest question ever asked, the only question that will be answered by every person – today, yesterday or tomorrow – “Who is this?”
So in summary, how should we live in our corporate concussed state?
- Keep Moving. Keep after it!
- Call on Others. Ask people for help.
- Recognize the Season. It’s a key time…and YOU get to be a part of it.
- Look for Jesus in Simple, Human Activity.
- Call on Jesus. Pray.
- Look for Miracles. Jesus will respond and stuff will happen.
- Take time to to consider, “Who is this?”
Your organization may be “concussed” during this CEO transition but…
A boat with Jesus in it may be swamped but will not go down.
A bush with God in it may burn but will not be consumed.
A tribe of God may wander but will not be lost.
And a organization with Jesus Christ at the center may be concussed by transition but as they work through it will come to know the truth of “Who is this?”