The election is over and now being the time to prepare for new leadership. President-elect Trump has a list of 13 potential team members. This is a great time to be reminded of how to prepare teams for new leadership.
The first six months of a leadership position should create momentum for sustained improvement, according to Ciampa and Watkins, the authors of the book, Right from the Start. Paying close attention to these three key elements is critical:
>> Address the problems of the organizational unit you have been called upon to lead,
>> Laying a foundation for deeper change, and
>> Build credibility with stakeholders, employees and governing boards.
Ciampa and Watkins also identify seven actions for successfully managing leadership change.
- New leaders have two to three years to make measurable progress in changing the culture and improving financial performance.
- At the start, the new leader should already understand the organization’s current strategy and associated goals and challenges and should have formed hypotheses about its operating priorities. During the first six months, these hypotheses must be tested and either validated or change.
- New leaders must balance an intense, single-minded focus on a few vital priorities with flexibility about when and how they are implemented.
- Within the first six months, the new leader must make key decisions about the “organizational architecture” of people, structure, and systems. The new leader must decide whether the composition of the inherited team is appropriate, and whether the organizational structure must change.
- By the end of the first six months, the new leader must also have built some personal credibility and momentum. Early wins are crucial, as is beginning to lay a foundation for sustained improvements in performance.
- The new leader must earn the right to transform the organization. The initial mandate from the Board and the CEO is never sufficient, nor will it remain static. It must be diligently and regularly reassessed. The new leader must also work actively to build coalitions supportive of change.
- There is no single best way to manage a leadership transition. New leaders’ approaches will inevitably be shaped by the situations they face, their prior experience, and their leadership styles.
Source: Ciampa D, Watkins M. Right from the Start: Taking Charge in a New Leadership Role. Harvard Business School Press.