Do You Need to Become an "Executive in Transition"?
was recently quoted in The Wall Street Journal on June 5, 2007 in an article: “How You Can Ensure A Newly Created Job Has Staying Power” by Joann Lublin. The article describes our coaching of a new executive who joined a biotech firm to take on a newly created job. We call our executive on-boarding process “The Sudden Impact Leadership Transition Process™”. For those of us who have ever found ourselves in new jobs and/or new organizations, you remember that in those first 3-6 months you're trying to find out what people's expectations are of you, what the new rules of the game are, and how to avoid stubbing your toes! If you're lucky you also are able to find some 'low-hanging fruit' for your early wins column.
Once you hit the 12 month mark, the honeymoon is over, you aren't the new kid on the block anymore and you've now established yourself as part of the culture. You don't see things with a fresh perspective, you've gotten, used to hearing the familiar complaints and you may even find yourself 'whining' about the way things get done around here. And if you've been in your job over 2 years you could definitely be considered as contributing to, if not overlooking, current problems.
So here is a novel thought for those of you who've been in your current position for over 2 years: What would happen if you decided, tomorrow, that for one month you would take on the role of an 'executive in transition' and take a fresh look at your organization through the eyes of a “newcomer”? Here are some of the questions a new executive in your position would be asking:
• Who are my key stakeholders and what are their expectations of me and my group – i.e. what feedback do they have for us about how we're performing?
• At the end of this next 12 month period what results would my internal and external customers be delighted with?
• What elements of this leadership culture support our strategic vision and what elements do we need to let go of?
• What frustrations do we have and how can we break through our current thinking to innovatively address them?
• What aspects of my leadership style need to be strengthened to take our organization to the next level?
• Do I have the best players on my team?
Perhaps if Bob Nardelli (ex-CEO of Home Depot) or Carly Fiorina (former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard) had taken a 'time-out' to do this type of stakeholder and leadership team assessment, they'd still have their jobs!ACTION FOR RESULTS:
Tips & Tools For Jump Starting Your Team with a Newcomer Perspective
• Go on a listening tour to all different parts of your organization and to your customers, asking the question – What could we be doing better – differently? How can we better support you?
• Call your Leadership Team together for a Team Jump Start™ meeting: Do a 360° assessment of how you've been working together
• Ask what breakthrough results do we want to achieve in the next 12 months, then develop a 100 Day Game Plan with 'tipping point' results
• Newcomers come into a job with optimism and energy. They don't know yet, “What can't be done.” You've been on the job for some time…“what must be done now?”
• Create Action Leaning Teams with cross-functional and multi-level 'rising stars' to address organizational issues. Watch how they lead
• Be a courageous leader!
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Stephen J. Kontra, Director,