Unwelcomed Guests

In his book, “Your Next Move,” author Michael D. Watkins projects several dangerous approaches executives take when entering into a new organization.  As we have all been perpetrators and victims of these maneuvers, they are good reminders of how not to enter into a new role:

Thinking You Have All The Answers: When entering into a new role, be quick to listen and slow to speak.  When a leader comes in and makes large and immediate assumptions about the organization with “quick solutions,” they often come across arrogant and unapproachable.  These leaders tend to hear a problem and immediately give you “the answer,” not taking the time for investigative dialogue to better understand the landscape.

Wanting To Bring In Your Own People: As this can be the easiest “quick fix” for most new leaders, it tears away trust in thinking the current staff is insufficient, and assumes you have an immediate and accurate perception of the existing culture.  Think back the latest higher-up that your organization just hired.  Are they invested in getting to know the existing talent, or are they quick to hire people from their own “camp.”

Creating The Impression That “There Is No Good Here”: New leaders love to use this as an excuse for any current or future problem that arrives.  They are quick to blame issues on the “past administration,” and make immediate assumptions about personnel or departments based on hearsay and subjective “feel.”  Not only do they dismiss your current culture, they are highly defensive toward any new culture they implement.

Ignoring The Need To Learn And Adapt: Many new leaders believe they achieve their “learning process” by simply having a 30-minute meeting with each department head or the former leader, but it only acts as a formality.  The learning and adaptation must run much deeper with patience, embracing the culture before you can transform it.  If your new executive loves to talk about their high intelligence, creativity, and consistent successes, be very cautious in how wide their learning bandwidth is.

How have you personally seen this within your own organization or are there any other “newbie” mistakes that you have experienced among staff?

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~ by Dave Smith on July 10, 2010.

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