Tuesday Buzz: Two Athletic Takes on Leadership Transitions

If a retired icon wants to swim another lap, let 'em---but let 'em hit the pool at their own pace. Also: how the Detroit Pistons let go of a legend the right way.

Michael Phelps has more gold than he knows what to do with. And there’s a chance that he might be raring for a little more.

On Monday, the swimming dynamo, who has 18 Olympic gold medals to his name, revealed that he’s emerging from his planned retirement to take another shot at the pool, though it’s unclear if he’ll take things as far as Rio in 2016.

Now obviously, the rules are a bit different in the business world than the athletics world. But for organizations looking to pull their legends out of retirement, there’s much to respect about Phelps’ approach. He’s not committing too much just yet, just a dip of the toes. He’s returning carefully, modestly even. If you’d like to bring back a former dynamo, be sure he or she has the right motivations and the right skills for your needs. Because sometimes, things change.

Better not to take things too fast, even when you’re the most decorated Olympian of all time.

A Dismissal With Respect

Now let’s flip the Phelps story: If you’re looking for an example of when it’s a good time to leave the perch, take a close look at Detroit Pistons legend Joe Dumars, who announced he was stepping down from his role as the president of basketball operations on Monday.

Dumars has been with the Pistons in one role or another for 30 years. And though the team has struggled in recent years, Dumars is responsible for much of its success—a point made by owner Tom Gores.

“Joe Dumars is a great champion who has meant so much to this franchise and this community,” Gores said, according to ESPN. “We are turning the page with great respect for what he has accomplished not only as a player and a front-office executive but as a person who has represented this team and the NBA with extraordinary dignity.”

Dumars may not have been lighting up the win column much these days, but the team is giving him the classy exit he deserves. If you have a leader or board member in a similar position, be sure to do the same.

Other Good Reads

“Without making the process changes and the people changes … the technology? I wouldn’t waste your money on it.”—Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes, on where technology fits into the marketing equation. CMSWire reports on her comments at the Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders last week.

If you have just one person doing your social media, watch out for the password problem, writes Social Media for Chambers contributor Christina Green.

Need an interactive kick for your fundraising presence? SocialFish features the video-chat-enabled Wizeo app, which could help your cause raise a little money.

(photo by Maryland GovPics/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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