Don’t Lead Until You Have Earned the Right to Lead in a New Job
Here is a brief excerpt from a leadership column posted by George Bradt at the Forbes magazine website. To check out a wealth of free materials, learn more about George and his firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.
About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months.” As Anne Fisher points out in a recent Fortune article, this has been true for about 15 years.
A big reason for the ongoing failure rate is the inability of executives to determine the right time to pivot from converging (becoming part of the team) to evolving (initiating change) when they are onboarding, changing jobs or getting promoted – and the inability of others to help them get this timing right.
Let’s unpack that into three musts for executives:
1. Must adopt a converge and evolve approach to onboarding
2. Must make a conscious choice about pivoting from converging to evolving
3. Must time that pivot right
Must Converge and Evolve
We use an ACES approach to onboarding, in which leaders make a choice based on the business context and corporate culture of the company whether to Assimilate in, Converge and Evolve, or Shock a system by making immediate changes.
Understand that while there are certainly some situations where it’s right to shock a system or simply assimilate in, in the vast majority of cases, converging and evolving is the right approach. New leaders cannot lead until they have established a working relationship with their followers.
Hence, converge and evolve. Ajay Banga did this particularly well when he went into MasterCard.
Must Choose to Pivot
Converging and evolving are different. The activities are different. The skills utilized are different. This is why a new leader can’t do both at the same time. This is why it’s so important to have a clear pivot point between asking/converging and leading/evolving.
QlikTech’s Lars Bjork used his first annual meeting to do this, and it worked so well that he pulls his whole company together every year to pivot from the learnings of the year before to the priorities of the year ahead.
This is a critical part of step 2 of The New Leader’s Playbook: Engage the Culture and Your New Colleagues in the Right Context
Be careful about how you engage with the organization’s existing business context and culture. Crossing the need for change based on the context and the cultural readiness for change can help you decide whether to Assimilate, Converge and Evolve (fast or slow), or Shock.
Please click here to read about each step in the playbook.
Please click here for YouTube videos highlighting each step.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
The New Leader’s Playbook includes the 10 steps that executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis uses to help new leaders and their teams get done in 100-days what would normally take six to twelve months.
George Bradt is PrimeGenesis’ managing director, and co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan (Wiley, 3rd edition 2011) and the freemium iPad app New Leader Smart Tools. Follow him at @georgebradt or on YouTube.
To read my interview of George, please click here.
To read my review of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, please click here.
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