08.2013 - Leadership Transitions Managing Leadership Transitions The New Way vs. the Good Olde Days

Here are just a few scenarios that unfold all too often.

  • Existing leaders and new leaders press to get their own preferred cultural norms, practices and procedures adopted.
  • Rumors fly around the organization; front-line workers wonder which set of beliefs will emerge triumphant.
  • Different departments emerge as  “favored children.”
  • The “Good Olde Days” and “The New Way” are both sanctified and vilified (depending on who is talking!).
  • Competition emerges for resources and turf.


What Can Leaders Do?

If any of the predictable results listed above is sometimes true as your organization experiences leadership transition -- with the expectation that THINGS ARE GONNA CHANGE!, here are a few possibilities for increasing your odds at success and averting the predictable hazards of leadership transition.

  1. Create an easy-to-understand vision that helps everyone clearly see the shape and flavor of the new culture.
  2. Build in lots of opportunity for social interaction.  The stronger people’s relationships, the easier it will be to create shared understanding.
  3. Squash rumors immediately and disseminate relevant information regularly.
  4. Identify the best of the “Good Olde Days” and bring it forward to merge with “The New Way.”  Clarify what about the  “Good Olde Days” needs to be banished.
  5. Re-write organizational documents in clear simple language to ensure that people see the best of the emerging culture reflected in all written documents and organizational symbols.

Can Technologists Be Great Leaders? Insights from experts, Dr. Fulmer and Dr. Hanson, Duke Corporate Education

Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal.

Formalize the System

As tech companies grow and mature, the need (for) more formal leadership-development processes becomes crucial to retaining key employees.

Focus on Data

.....tech professionals simply love the details. This insight can be useful in building support for leadership development at tech firms.

Our research suggests that one of the best ways to compel tech leaders to improve their leadership skills is to measure things such as the thoroughness with which they try to advance the careers of their subordinates.

Value Leadership

Helping tech professionals see the value in leadership can be difficult. Technologically oriented people often get more personal satisfaction out of designing and building new products and services than they do out of managing people.

Engage the Audience

Tech professionals tend to be smart, practical, competitive and action-oriented. They also are typically fast learners, capable of moving quickly from one concept to another…..For that reason, tech companies should design leadership courses that are smart, specific and fast-moving to keep participants engaged.

Encourage Coaching

… people we interviewed said many tech companies struggle to establish effective coaching and mentoring programs…..Part of the problem is that tech companies often hire and reward people for being the smartest "techies" in the room, not for nurturing the careers of lower-level team members.

Badly merged leadership cultures are like broken zippers.

They cause frustration, lost time and embarrassment!