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Leadership Transitions: Increase the Odds for Success

Questions for leaders in transition.

"The old is gone, the new is here."

When talking about transformed lives, these words offer hope. But when used to describe an organization's transition from an established top leader to the next person, they may not have the same effect. In fact, the chances of success may be no better than a coin toss.

Research reported by The Leadership Transition Institute (LTI) shows that up to half of leadership transitions go poorly. Segmented further, 3 percent result in a quick and spectacular failure, while 47 percent result in a long, quiet struggle. When it comes to Christian organizations and ministries, the spectacular failures prove easy to spot and capture headlines in Christian media. But the quiet strugglers, the relatively enormous group, earn the label "quiet" for a reason—they receive no attention.

When I became the new president of a faith-based organization, I replaced both the founder and previous president. At previous organizations, as a staff leader I occupied courtside seats ...

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