Monday, September 24, 2012

The "Right" Start

A change in management can quickly derail even the most productive teams as they attempt to understand how to work with the new leader. Most of the time the transition from "old" leader to "new" leader happens slowly. Even when the work remains unchanged, there is a recognized change in the environment. Folks need to understand the style of the new leader and what to expect.  Expectations need to be redefined and exchanged.  Most of the time, this learning occurs over time.

By implementing a structured, new leader assimilation process the transition of the new leader can be managed much more smoothly and productively.  It allows for the team to get to know and understand their new leader much faster and also provides the new leader with some critical information about his/her team.  

A new leader assimilation process usually consists of a custom plan, facilitated meetings, and targeted follow up. The result is a faster integration of the new leader into the organization.  A new leader assimilation process generally consists of the following:
  • Preparation and analysis
    • Understand strengths of new leader
    • Select facilitator/coach
    • Determine whether assessment/interviews will be needed
    • Understand the main mission/goals/experience of the team
    • Establish meeting goals
  • Facilitated meeting with team - By skilled facilitator/coach
    • New leader shares information about him/her self
    • Team members ask questions to learn about the leader
    • Team members are provided opportunity to share any concerns without the leader present (anonymity is preserved)
    • New leader is debriefed and meets with team to address questions and concerns to build understanding and alignment
  • Meetings with peers and manager
    • New leader meets with colleagues to gain insight on the culture, values, and priorities of the organization
    • Emphasis is to understand first, to act later
  • Follow up
    • New leader receives feedback and coaching from facilitator/coach
    • A specific 90 day plan is developed and implemented- including communication plans
    • Progress is monitored and measured
Without a new leader assimilation process, it can take a long time for the new leader to transition effectively.  In many cases s/he may never transition successfully.  Statistics show that the transition of leaders into new roles is not managed well by most organizations and that the failure rates of new leaders is very high.  When you are bringing in a new leader, be sure you are doing everything you can to manage the transition and set him/her up for success right from the start!!!

If you are interested in learning more about this process contact: or  or call us at 330 665-1865

A great resource book on this topic is: The First Ninety Days by Michael Watkins.