There was this Greek guy, Plato, who said, “Don’t force your children into your ways. They were created for a time different from your own.” Pretty good advice, about my own daughters and about next gen leaders of the Questscope that I nurtured for 4 decades.
Another business guru said (not as long ago as that Greek!) that the day you take up top leadership in an organization, that day you start planning for transition and succession.
So, I have been transitioning for 4 decades. Of course, when I started, there was nothing to transition. I was an individual then who wanted to break cycles of violence that made deadly targets of the least visible, most vulnerable people in Beirut in 1982. Now, after decades, we have Questscope – an organization filled with dozens of talented, committed, competent staff and thousands of volunteers – with an awesome track record in the Middle East, putting tens of thousands of the Last, first.
My paraphrase of a CS Lewis saying also guides me …it is likely that your children will meet cruel enemies. Let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. We have given young refugees and sidelined kids who faced despair second chances to discover they are brave and courageous heroes in their own stories. Because we believed in them, they came to believe in themselves. We made sure they got good chances for ongoing good choices.
Last week, Muthanna (Questscope CEO) took a 16-day trip with me to DC and NC. (Glad to report, he survived that 24/7 ordeal!) One evening near the end of the trip he looked me right in the eyes and said, “I have so much to learn.” After 25 years with Questscope! What a thing, for a leader to be a learner – and not shy to say it out loud. I continue to hand over long-standing relationships and hard-earned lessons (mostly mistakes I made!) to equip this young leader to enable Questscope to thrive.
He is a leader for a different time than I. He has seen heroism expressed in unexpected places and people. And he has revealed remarkable courage inside himself.
Transition. What a wild ride! What a delight! What gratitude to you!