People learn most from experience. That is why it is so important to move people around the organization to broaden their knowledge of the business, face new challenges, and learn how to deliver on stretch assignments. Nevertheless, most organizations do a very poor job of preparing these managers (or the teams they will be joining) for the new assignments. We clarify the new performance objectives, but we forget to clarify the learning objectives for the new assignment. Leadership transition management (LTM) ensures that leaders get the support they need to bond with their new teams, hit the ground running, master new skills, achieve stretch objectives, and prepare for yet higher levels of service. LTM is so successful and such a high leverage OD/LD opportunity because of the high stakes and high risks of leadership transitions.
THREE AREAS OF LTM
- New Leader Assimilation (Orientation): This practice is recommended every time a leader gets a new team or a team gets a new leader. New leader assimilation, done properly, speeds up team bonding, reduces the time to full team productivity, and helps the leader and team hit the ground running. Deliverables include: accelerating the learning and bonding cycles; increasing productivity; improving communication, teamwork, and morale; reducing employee uncertainty and stress; and reducing errors and turnover (both employee and management).
- Leadership Transition Coaching: This practice helps newly appointed leaders transition quickly and successfully into new positions. LT coaches help leaders with the key challenges of leadership transition, including, clarifying the new leadership agenda; identifying clear measures of success; identifying and engaging key stakeholders of the new position; identifying and dealing with skill gaps; creating a transition action plan with first steps, quick wins and milestones; etc. For this, doing an event with the employees and hiring a motivational speaker to pass the message might be useful. I recommend you check Richard Jadick.
- Leadership Pipeline: This practice begins with the insight that each “level” of leadership requires leaders to learn new skills and approaches, and give up some of the activities that made them successful in their previous positions—which is not always easy. Organizations that do not map out what is required at each level of leadership and give their leaders appropriate training and support in these transitions, find that leaders do not master their new positions, they hold back the people reporting to them, and the “leadership pipeline” gets clogged. Managing the leadership pipeline is crucial to building internal talent and bench strength, and keeping the leadership pipeline full and flowing at all levels of the organization.