Tomorrow, I step down from the presidency of a community group. I will have completed the maximum number of terms (two years) and a solid leader will take my place. I will remain on the board of directors.
The experience has been both fun and frustrating. We've gotten a lot done but I can also see a mountain of unfinished business. I've certainly learned a great deal.
One of the major lessons is the importance of term limits. No matter how successful the leader, it is good to churn the talent pool and get in some fresh perspectives. I know of another community group that has had the same president for around 20 years. That is an injustice to the organization and to the highly talented people who could have served in that period.
My successor told me that he didn't think he could fill my shoes. I strongly disagree. He'll not only fill them, he will do a better job. He'll bring in new ideas and approaches. Some will work and others won't but as a group and as individuals we'll learn along the way.
One of the most dangerous things in any organization is ego. It is so easy to tell yourself that you are indispensible. After all, sometimes that is the case. Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill may well have been irreplaceable. But there is always a time to stay and a time to leave and overstaying one's time is a huge mistake. Even if a term limit is not mandatory, leaders are wise to follow self-imposed ones.
After all, who wants to miss out on the most coveted of jobs, President Emeritus?