Growing To Irrelevance
To be a great leader, you must at some point realize that the continued success of an organization/institution or entity should never entirely depend on you. You must continue to replicate yourself in others. YOU MUST GROW TO “IRRELEVANCE.”
Let’s get straight to the point. Can the organization or entity you lead survive without you? Is it a going concern or does its survival entirely depend on you? Building an entity or organization that will outlive you depends on how well you as the top dog are growing to irrelevance.
In other words, this is really about building and developing others to the point that the entity or organization can still go on without you. The reality of life is that a lot of things can happen that can take you out of the equation and at that point, the true value of your leadership will be tested. I am of the view that one of the greatest marks of leadership is seen in what happens when the leader is gone? Does the entity or organization die too or will it continue to function the way it used to and perhaps get better?
When Steve Jobs died, there was concern that that would mark the beginning of the end of Apple. I haven’t seen evidence to support those fears at this point and it seems highly unlikely that that will be the case. In that respect, he did a great job in, to some extent, separating himself from the brand and having with him a team of people that can still build the entity to higher heights.
Growing to irrelevance entails investing in other leaders; equipping them with the necessary skills that will enable them to function at your level. Growing to irrelevance is about giving them the exposure that they need to be effective leaders.
A few weeks ago, I reminded a colleague; a coworker I like to call him that he will soon need to mentor someone to do what he does because as things stand, his absence would bring certain work to a standstill. But if we are to be a going concern, we need to continuously identify people whom we can trust enough to do in our absence what we would do if we were there; people who understand the heart of the entity and have caught its vision.
Are you growing to irrelevance? Who do you think is capable of leading in your absence? What are you doing to help them become more effective?