by Margaret Wood, Editor LeadershipFlagship.com
Making big changes in a new environment can be dangerous for new leaders if they don’t take the time to understand the organizational needs
Today’s organizations are experiencing a shift in thinking, from being “nice to have” to “need to have.” Basically, every new CEO, manager, etc. should consider 3 questions when joining a new company:
- Who are we?
- What are we about?
- How do we do it?
The priority should focus on identity & purpose, then the tactics. While a company may very well benefit from a new leader’s bold moves, the manner in which they’re made can make a world of difference.
New managers arriving on the scene with preconceived ideas about what the company needs can lead to career suicide if not approached in a systematic and diplomatic manner. While change is often good, without a total understanding of a company’s mission and direction, change can be disasterous.
New leaders should spend that first year observing, listening, and being more of an “anthropologist” in their approach, learning about the way things were and they way they are–what they stand to discover is that some areas may need minor tweaking, some methods have been tried and failed and some areas may need a major overhaul. However, in order to strengthen their credibility, new leaders are cautioned to take time to perform their due diligence and not focus on quick wins.
It is not all that uncommon for a new CEO to come in and make bold, strategic moves in their 365 days. Reorganizing management, launching products, mergers and acquisitions are amongst the most common top actions new executives initiate.
For new leaders who looking to make a difference— and hold onto their jobs — this advice can be applied to almost any type of organization. As a new player, leave your office and down to deck -level; learn about your organization! Get to know the organization and its culture through observation and conversation. Meet with staff members and board members — focus on the present! When you develop a sense of trust, people will be more willing to buy-in on the bigger vision.
By influencing people to your way of thinking, you influence their behavior and their thinking as well. When you forge these relationships early on, your supporters will help you reach your goals with less resistance. It’s all about building trust.
New managers can establish trust by delivering integrity, honesty, presenting their absolute best persona whenever possible, not being judgmental, and asking many questions. New leaders need to remain focused and not allow their eagerness to leave their mark cloud their line of sight.
Reflect – as new leaders, this is important. Step back from time to time, assess and evaluate. Some things will go well, while others may need more attention – always look for what was learned.
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