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Transitioning Executives: How to Ensure Success

Posted October 7, 2015 in Articles

Transitioning Executives: How to Ensure Success

While a change in leadership can be challenging, it can also provide tremendous opportunities for an organization to grow and advance. Whether an organization has hired a new CEO, CFO or another executive level leader, organizations must take critical steps to help ensure a successful transition. Even though companies and organizations may want to see quick results, they must understand that transitioning a new leader is a process that takes time and requires significant effort on the part of both the organization and the executive. When an organization is bringing on a new leader there are several strategies that can help facilitate a successful integration process.

1. Build a Strong Relationship Between the New Leader and the Board

When a new CEO comes on board one of the most critical steps to help ensure a successful transition is to establish a strong relationship between the new leader and the board. While the relationship between the CEO and the board is often downplayed and overlooked, effective communication and interaction between board members and the CEO plays a vital role in the success of an organization. When the board and CEO are in conflict and fail to trust one another, the organization will suffer and the new leadership is likely to fail. Even though the board and the CEO may only meet periodically, boards are increasingly becoming more involved in setting the strategy for companies and organizations. A strong and positive partnership with the board can go a long way in helping the CEO to effectively manage and lead the organization.

2. Educate the New Leader

When you bring on a new leader you need to immerse him or her in your organization. You need to be open and honest about the history of your organization - where your organization has been, the obstacles it has overcome and the successes it has achieved. To do this you need to provide detailed insight about where the organization is headed along with any challenges, threats and opportunities that may be on the horizon. Your new leader also needs to become intimately aware of your organization’s core values and culture. While your organization’s goals and values may change and adjust over time, your new leader needs to have a complete understanding of what he or she is stepping into.

3. Develop Effective Communication Channels

When important changes are taking place, nobody likes to be left out of the loop. Whether you are bringing in a new leader from outside your organization or promoting an individual from within, you need to keep all stakeholders from senior level management on down apprised of important developments and activities. Individuals throughout your organization are likely to have different reactions to the change in leadership, both positive and negative. While you can’t control these reactions you can help ease the challenges associated with the transition process by establishing effective channels of communication. A communications plan that keeps stakeholders in the loop and affords them the opportunity to express their concerns can go a long way in helping your new leader integrate into the organization and gain the trust and support necessary to succeed.

4. Special Considerations for Cross-Border Leadership Transitioning

When a change in leadership involves a cross-border transition, organizations need to be aware of the intercultural problems and difficulties that may arise. Workplace values and behaviors can differ tremendously from one culture to another. While your organization may be able to successfully blend these differences over time, you should address potential conflicts now so that they do not jeopardize the success of your new leader. Both the new leader and current management and staff need to understand one another and how their different cultural norms may influence how they communicate, work together, plan and solve problems.

While the process of transitioning a new leader into an organization has it challenges, there are many steps that organizations can take to help achieve a successful integration. The global network of consultants at Mithras Investments, LLC can work with your organization to develop effective leadership transition strategies and plans. Contact us today.

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