3 min read

S7E28: Al and Jay Share About Their Leadership Transitions

S7E28: Al and Jay Share About Their Leadership Transitions

We've just had a CEO transition at Best Christian Workplaces, and several have asked, “How's it going?” Well, listen in as Al Lopus, Cofounder and Board Chair, and Jay Bransford, President & CEO of Best Christian Workplaces, talk about our organization's succession story. Robert Wachter, Global Marketing Director at BCW, hosts the episode

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In this episode:

  • We're going to talk about the recent transition that happened that has resulted in new leadership here within our organization. (01:59)
  • We want to share insights that we've gleaned and learned along the way to help you with your leadership transitions. (02:08)
  • How did you know that it was the right time to focus on a succession plan and prepare for the next season of leadership? (03:52)
  • Being faced with the reality of one's own mortality (04:54)
  • "I had the strong conviction that Best Christian Workplaces was a mission God wanted to continue beyond me, beyond Kathy, into the next generation. It was time for me to start thinking about a healthy succession." (06:48)
  • How did you plan and implement the succession plan that has resulted in where we are today? (08:03)
  • Al read Scaling Up and Traction (09:56)
  • Come up with a list of things your organization needs to do to move forward (10:12)
  • Created a highly functional leadership team (11:42)
  • Find an operating system e.g. EOS, Ninety (11:55)
  • Finding a new CEO. Create a search team (12:50)
  • What's the best role to bring the new leader into? (14:07)
  • Hiring a new COO, Jay Bransford (15:51)
  • The whole process was bathed in prayer (16:04)
  • "At the time that God was preparing Al to think more deeply about his succession, I was actually living over 8,000 miles away, on the other side of the world, in Asia, where I had been serving as a missionary with my wife and my son for over 15 years at that point." (18:02)
  • "And God had given me a very unique role on the international mission field. I served numerous mission organizations and churches and Christian not-for-profits, providing pro bono consulting services, helping them to maximize their performance and the kingdom impact of their organizations. And it was the same kind of consulting work that I'd previously provided in the corporate world for many years." (18:20)
  • "Although I didn't realize it at the time while we were serving on the mission field, God was also preparing me for this transition, just like he was preparing Al" (18:40)
  • "I knew I wanted to continue to use my consulting background in organizational team and leadership development, and I really wanted to keep serving Christian-led organizations, but I wasn't seeing many opportunities out there." (20:04)
  • "It's all about relationships." (22:39)
  • "Over 18 months, we literally spent at least 30 minutes on Zoom every morning—for me, it was 8:30 out here in the Pacific—with our joint virtual assistant. I was able to transfer 18 years of knowledge and experience to Jay." (23:12)
  • "When you have a CEO/COO relationship, having clearly defined roles is a really important part." (23:57)
  • "I'll just say that in my years of providing leadership consulting, I've helped a number of senior leaders create transition plans for themselves. And one way that I helped them was to provide them with a pretty simple transition-plan template, which simply gave them a way to think about and document everything they do on a daily basis, and a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even an annual basis." (26:50)
  • "So I knew that this was God’s ministry from the beginning, and I was just the steward of it over time, and I wanted to make this really a positive transfer. That was really my attitude." (29:18)
  • "I found a counselor who's with the firm called Liminal Space. It's a firm designed to help people go through transitions. And Jon DeWaal, their executive director, helped me tremendously as I walked through over the next six months or so to make sure that I was going to be in good shape, that I wasn't going to get in the middle or in the way of this transition." (31:21)
  • "But part of being a successful leader also relies on having enough relational capital and trust built up with your staff that they choose to follow you, especially for the newly incoming leader." (35:43)
  • Gentle transition from Al leading All staff meetings to Jay leading them (36:31)
  • Keeping your team updated about the transition plan (36:48)
  • Jay participated in BCWI's 360 Leadership Review (37:35)
  • BCWI EES showed that the transition was on the right track (39:00)
  • Get out of town and let the new leader take over (41:11).



Read the Transcript

Read a complete, word-for-word transcript of the episode.


Follow our Host, Al Lopus, on LinkedIn & Twitter.

Email our host at info@workplaces.org

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