Several years ago, the pastor of the church I attended tendered his resignation to head to the mission field. This man had been a friend and advisor to many, and he would be sorely missed. His departure, and that of his family, would sting.
I will never forget what he said to us the day he announced his resignation. Paraphrased, it went something like this: If this congregation falls apart because I am no longer a part of it, then I’ve accomplished nothing. The church is not supposed to be about ME. What a wise and foresightful thing to say.
I reflect on that statement today because the world is abuzz with the recently announced resignation of Steve Jobs from Apple. Certainly I don’t equate Apple to a church, but the same precept rings true. People have long said that without Jobs, the Apple will rot, that he’s the idea engine that makes it all work. While I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man, I hope that’s not true. No significant endeavor should be about one person; employees and shareholders deserve a succession plan that ensures the continued success of the company. After all, what has Apple really accomplished if the resignation of its CEO derails its performance, even its existence? Time will tell if Jobs has built a business or merely an homage to himself.
In the meantime, let’s use this as a wake-up call. Look around at the work you do. If you left tomorrow, would the plans you’ve set in motion continue? Or would they fade like a dream? If those plans are about something bigger than yourself, I hope you’ve shared the vision, inspired other people to grab it, and empowered them to make it happen. Otherwise, you haven’t really accomplished anything.