Path to Glory - Flickr

With the beginning of a new year, this brings opportunities. Although New Year’s resolutions represent opportunities, I am referring to opportunities of the business variety and related transitions. These include executives taking new roles in their current organizations or entirely different companies. Making the decision to take one of these new roles requires careful consideration, but this consideration should not end with this decision. Consideration should be an ongoing part of what follows the decision otherwise performance can suffer.

According to Fortune and the Corporate Executive Board:

  • 40 to 46 percent of leaders fail or underperform during work role transitions
  • Direct reports of leaders struggling in role transitions perform 15 percent worse than direct reports of successful leaders
  • Missed business opportunities and stalled initiatives due to executive transition problems can cost companies tens of millions of dollars per year

If you are a leader who is about to start a job at another company or take a new position at your current organization, proactive management of this transition is a business essential for leadership and organizational success. While putting together a plan for your first 100 days is important for onboarding, you should be actively learning about your new place of work, reading the environment and establishing relationships to help you be effective beyond the 100 days. More specifically, use these steps to help you ramp up and sustain success.

Be a Sponge

Listen, observe and ask questions to help ensure you understand the culture of the overall organization and the environment of your specific area. Newcomers are typically given more latitude to seek out information (including sensitive topics) than others who have longer tenure.

Let Business Need Instead of Ego Drive Change

Avoid the trap of immediately implementing change, because you believe you have the answer prior to walking in the door. While experience from other roles is valuable, a thorough needs assessment will help determine what truly should change.

Use an Assimilation Strategy with Your Boss, Peers and Direct Reports

Take the initiative to understand the capabilities of your boss, peers and direct reports as individuals as well as how peers operate as a group and direct reports operate as a group. Based on what you learn, tailor your approach to build individual relationships and integrate into each respective group.

Form Your Support Network

Determine the key individuals whom you trust to be your thought partners and sounding boards. Consult with these individuals to obtain alternative perspectives which will enable you to make better decisions throughout your tenure in a new role.


Ryan Lahti is the founder and managing principal of OrgLeader, LLC. Stay up to date on Ryan’s STEM-based organization tweets here: @ryanlahti

(Photo: Path to Glory!!, Flickr)