Getting off on the right foot is much easier than recovering from a false start. Whether part of a more comprehensive approach to leadership transitions or as a stand-alone initiative, a structured new leader assimilation process helps clarify expectations for the executive and his or her team, lays the foundation for trust, and builds relationships. It also helps to establish initial priorities, action items, and a cadence for reviewing progress.
A general framework that represents a starting point in customizing a new-leader assimilation process and that addresses an executive’s specific needs includes the following five steps:
- Contracting with the leader about desired outcomes of the process and how progress will be measured
- Conducting interviews with team members
- Reviewing themes from these interviews with the leader in preparation for a working session with the team
- Facilitating a working session in which the executive shares a brief bio and addresses questions and expectations and in which each team member shares information about him- or herself—after which the team reviews key themes from the interviews and identifies top challenges and opportunities and aligns on priorities, including an initial action plan
- Following up, as agreed upon during the working session, on action items and any emergent issues.
In some cases, OLG facilitates this process from end to end. In other situations, we partner with internal resources from HR, Talent Management, or OD to conduct some of the activities.
Whether facilitated internally or externally, the goal is the same: for the executive in transition and members of his or her team to engage in a structured process that proactively
- Identifies and outlines steps to remedy issues that could impede collaboration
- Promotes effective working conditions
- Builds strong, trusting relationships.