Written by Robert Cuddy and Julie Johnson with input from Gail Blanke, Bob Lee & Marilyn Puder-York
Clients say: “We expect new hires to hit the ground running.”
Not an unusual expectation when hiring experienced, skilled executives from the outside, says Chadick Ellig. Clients want new hires to assimilate and perform at their best immediately. Unfortunately, this is not always the way it works out. The successful transition and performance of an executive in a new culture or job, peer group or role requires that both the "executive" and the "executive’s boss" share the responsibility of the assimilation. When this shared process breaks down, so does the optimum success of the new executive.
Since both parties have a stake in the successful outcome of this new partnership, it would be logical that these transitions are planned and executed in a methodical manner. The reality is that time demands , business pressures , invalid assumptions and personal styles usually leave the executive to fend for himself/herself. The following represents a cross section of the reasons why our executive coaches find that even the most talented individuals can falter and what can be done to help them succeed.
Identify key stakeholders in the organization and clarify needs, expectations and potential issues. Work to build alliances and trust.
Observe the culture: how people communicate, interact with each other; the decision making process, protocols. Adapt your style to the needs of the organization.
Manage your emotional and behaviorial responses in the new environment very carefully. What were acceptable responses in your old environment may not be perceived as adaptive or "a fit" in the new environment. Be self-aware and in control of your responses.
Scan the environment before you put any stakes in the ground – even if you feel pressure to make an impact quickly. Don’t leap until you have the lay of the land.
Develop a vision, build coalitions to support your strategies, and implement carefully. Success requires collaboration from key stake holders.
Select key priorities for the first 100 days, 6 months and 1 year. Review with your new boss. Success equals meeting the boss' expectations.
Be enthusiastic, energized and execute with excellence. Set a positive, contagious tone.
Monitor your progress by checking in often with the boss, direct reports, peers and “clients”. Frequency of contact builds comfort levels, under standing and support.
Set a few key priorities and build one success upon the next within a reasonable amount of time. Steady super stars are more effective.
Develop people, give positive, constructive feedback and let them shine. Star performers can be your loyal supporters and protectors.
Over-reliance on the boss’ position and social capital can wear thin quickly. Be strategic in building your alliances.
Provide personal introductions for the new executive throughout the organization. Ensure the executive is invited to meetings across the organization to gain the broadest knowledge, exposure and acceptance. Show and build support for your new hire.
Maintain frequent communication. Review with the executive the expectations you have for her/his performance over the first 100 days, 6 months and 1 year. Communicate frequently and provide feed back early.
Ensure the executive has access to all appropriate communications. Provide resources to support the executive's learning curve.
Enlighten the executive to potential “mine fields”. Do not put your new hire at risk.
Be the new executive’s mentor — ensure your investment succeeds.Successful Hires Need Successful Assimilation.