Leadership Transitions – From Buenos Aires to Papacy !

Leadership Transitions
Leadership Transitions

Pope Francis is close to completing his first 45 days as the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, already half way thru the 90 day ordeal his mettle is passing thru the litmus test of transition. Clearly active on the scribe’s desks with his many “Firsts” – he has sure raised the inquisitiveness of many a minds, including mine.

Corroborating Michael Watkins work on transitions, My curiosity is taking the liberty to opinionate on Pope Francis progression and effectiveness of his actions [read transition strategy].

Assessing the health of world faith and in particular his role as the head of the Papacy – clearly it classified for a “Realignment” [Ref: STaRS]. Realignment which meant reenergizing a previously successful oraganisation that now faces problem. And surely 2 grave I would think of –
1. Being relevant – Weakening of Catholicism in the U.S. and Europe , Inclusiveness for diversity.
2. Governance – existing dysfunctional curial government and its many tainted scandal.

Clearly the immediate challenge he had to deal with is to convince his curia that change is necessary – and indeed getting them to take the first steps of making change happen. Second, build on the significant pockets of strengths while carefully restructuring the top team while refocusing the organisation.

Some actions he has taken in the last 30 days like appointing an international council of eight cardinals to advise him in reforming the Catholic Church, shunning the luxurious associated with the papacy even deciding to continue staying in a suite in the Vatican hotel instead of moving into the papal apartment and even the recent – bonus withdrawal for the Vatican staff.

Even some of his actions on inclusions are clearly sending an important message for realignment . Like, On the first Holy Thursday following his election Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 juvenile offenders, ages 14–21, at Rome’s Casal del Marmo detention facility, telling them the ritual of foot washing is a sign that he is at their service. According to church experts, this was the first time that a pope has included women in this ritual (there were 2 women and 10 men).

On April 3, 2013, during the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis spoke out about the “fundamental importance” of women in the Roman Catholic Church, stressing that they have a special role in terms of spreading the faith, and that they were the “first witnesses” of the resurrection. According to a report from Vatican Radio, this is the third time in one week that the pope has included the subject of women in the church in his addresses.

The message is loud and clear – be prepared to move away from tradition if you want to continue to be relevant. Personally I think that Francis has got his transition strategy right, Making Slower but more deliberate moves. Making Few but important changes , Shifting the organisation mindset from denial to awareness.

Signing off with popular Latin saying
“di immortales virtutem approbare, non adhibere debent”
We may expect the gods to approve virtue, but not to endow us with it

Good Job Francis

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