Most organisations think they are doing a good job of bringing newly hired executives into the fold or promoting internal leaders when actually they aren't. While nearly all companies are competent at signing leaders up, simple onboarding does little to manage the risk of the move, both for the individual and for the organisation. As the new leader gets to grips with new colleagues, unfamiliar cultural norms, role expectations, companies vary in terms of how much effort they put into fully integrating their new hire - and this can have major consequences in terms of payback, derailment, disruption and talent retention.
Research has shown that the primary reasons for the failure of an executive who has recently transitioned into a new role are organisational culture and politics, not talent or competence. This shows that many companies are hiring on talent, and losing that talent due to cultural fit.
This article summarises the 5 main tasks which leaders must undertake in their first few months:
1. Assuming operational leadership
2. Taking charge of the team
3. Aligning with stakeholders
4. Engaging with the culture
5. Defining strategic intent
Effectively integrating your new leader in all these areas, and realising where they best need support will help them to get up to speed in half the time, decreasing the payback of the hire and also the risk which comes with it.
What level of support do you give your new hires? Do you let them sink or swim? Do you actively assimilate them? Or do you accelerate their integration?
Our leadership transition programmes support all areas of leadership change, whether that is supporting your newly appointed leader, your outgoing director or your organisation in succession planning for critical appointments. Whilst we support different areas of the business, our goal remains the same: to reduce disruption to the organisation brought about by a change of leadership. Find out more here.
Some new external hires were extremely successful, but others were not—even though they’d made effective moves elsewhere. In response to that wake-up call, HR and senior management examined the difficulties that new hires faced—particularly the new-market challenges—and decided to adopt much more broadly the best practices that the CEO had established. They offered thorough integration support to new general managers, including those transferring internally from one market to another. They also reviewed successful individual cases—in which 360-degree feedback indicated that the executive had reached full effectiveness in half the usual time—to see how integration risks and challenges had been mitigated. The systematic support was an investment, but the payback was pretty much immediate. So the company strengthened its internal programs even more, bringing in expert coaches from the outside.