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July 2, 2010

On New Leadership

Every five years, the Seventh-day Adventist Church--the organization I work for--has a world business meeting where they elect leadership and refine policy. I'm currently in Atlanta attending my third such session, and this will be the second time that I'll return to find my boss clearing his office for the newly-elected.

As a pragmatic professional and a professional pragmatist, I work for two things: my passion and my paycheck. As long as those two things are appropriately served, I can work with anyone. As these two things have not yet changed as a result of the change in office, I don't expect a better (or worse) road in my future.

It would seem that there are many who seem to find this change exciting. I would caution these people to temper their thoughts. Change can only do three things: make things better, make things worse, or have no effect. All other influences aside, you have a 1 in 3 chance of improvement; behave accordingly.

There are also those who consider this a tragic end of an era. To these I would caution discretion: the last time I lost a boss at a General Conference session, he was replaced by someone who just happens to have been elected president of the organization this week. Besides if you have some personal agenda you are fighting for, there is no worse strategy than to yourself declare it dead.

Finally, to all who have some stake or vested interest in these happenings, I implore moderation. Consider it not absurd that someone who is not a part of your camp could, in fact aid and support your cause. Consider areas where collaborative progress is possible rather than drawing up lines of contention. And consider the health and vitality of the ecosystem over the success of a specific organism.

We are a family; a community. The success of an organization depends on its collective value--something I learned watching both outgoing superiors. Let's be gracious cooperators as we build the next five years of this organization's future.

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