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Transitioning as a Leader – Jim Bruce's Next Stage

| January 21, 2020

by Brian McDonald

[Today’s Tuesday Reading, is written by Brian McDonald, President of MOR Associates.]

For the last fifteen years Jim Bruce has been endeavoring to share his wisdom and insights from across the leadership landscape with all of us through these Tuesday Readings. It has been a terrific way for Jim to read, reflect and synthesize the lessons we can all benefit from as practitioners of this craft. Jim during these last few years has continued to coach and help individuals prepare for the next opportunity in their career as well.  Warren Bennis shared in his article the “Seven Ages of the Leader” a fitting quote:

When you mentor, you know that what you have achieved will not be lost, that you are leaving a professional legacy for future generations.

Through both his personal connection and through his Tuesday Reading connection Jim has continued to mentor many of us. Jim will be stepping back from the primary author for these Tuesday leadership reminders. 

Over twenty years ago I first crossed paths with my good colleague and friend Jim Bruce.  Someone had asked me to interview as Jim’s executive coach. Little did I know how saying yes to this invitation would lead to such an endearing relationship along with a shared mission to help develop the next generation of leaders.

During these past four decades Jim Bruce has served as CIO at MIT and later as a Senior Fellow at MOR Associates. When Jim left MIT he didn’t retire, instead he decided to join MOR and embark on the next stage of his exceptional career. 

Jim was always invested in helping his senior directors become better leaders.  He was often looking for opportunities or programs targeted at enhancing their leadership capability. He was never really satisfied he discovered the right strategy for building the skills to bring people up to level he believed was needed.

In re-reading Warren Bennis’s article on “The Seven Ages of the Leader” we can appreciate the contributions Jim has made over these last several decades.  Bennis refers to this as the Sixth Stage – “The Statesman with Spectacles on Nose.”

The leader in this stage is often hard at work preparing to pass on his or her wisdom in the interest of the organization. The leader may also be called upon to play important interim roles, bolstered by the knowledge and perception that come with age and experience and without the sometimes distracting ambition that characterizes early career.

During the period from 2004 to 2015, Jim was actively involved in facilitating and coaching across a number of MOR Leader programs, interacting with hundreds of IT leaders across higher education. Jim served as cheerleader, coach, mentor and confidant for numerous individuals. 

The Seventh Stage Bennis refers to is the The Sage.  Mentoring is one of the great joys of a mature career, the professional equivalent of having grandchildren. It is at this time that the drive to prepare the next generation for leadership becomes a palpable ache. 

As Jim steps back from this weekly preparation of the Tuesday Readings he will continue to offer an occasional Tuesday script. MOR Associates is indebted to Jim for his role in the expansion of the leadership development opportunities we have contributed to over these many years.

I personally recognize what a privilege it has and continues to be to partner with Jim as he transitions and teaches me about these Ages of Leadership.  Please feel free to reach out to Jim if you are so inclined [email protected].

With much gratitude,

Brian McDonald
MOR Associates
[email protected]

Postscript-We will continue the TR with a different mix in the months ahead.



1.     The Seven Ages of the Leader, Harvard Business Review. January 2004