issue 12.7 hrmasia.com40
the leadership special
In the last of a two-part
series on leadership,
HRM’s guest contributor,
S...
issue 12.7 hrmasia.com 41
the leadership special
Ensuring a successful transition
The most challenging time for leaders is...
issue 12.7 hrmasia.com42
the leadership special
Employee Self Service
to the rescue
About the Author
Professor Sattar Bawa...
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Executive Onboarding - Hit the Ground Running in 90 Days - HRM July 2012 issue

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Executive Onboarding - Hit the Ground Running in 90 Days - HRM July 2012 issue

  1. 1. issue 12.7 hrmasia.com40 the leadership special In the last of a two-part series on leadership, HRM’s guest contributor, Sattar Bawany, says new leaders need to have an impact within the first 90 days of their tenures Hit the ground running A ccording to Ram Charan’s article in the 2005 Harvard Business Review, as CEO tenure continues to shrink, it has become absolutely critical for companies to cultivate internal candidates for top positions. Yet corporations are beginning to realise that executive-level geographic and culture succession pipelines are broken, and will adversely affect the ability to identify and nurture future leaders. This can be alleviated however by establishing on-going programmes that correctly ascertain high potential executives and provide them with meaningful and measurable development. Talent management and retention is continuously one of the most pressing worries of CEOs — and for good reason. Having enough capable leaders to execute corporate strategy is a growing concern, one heightened by demographic trends that promise a continuing shortage of leaders in coming years.
  2. 2. issue 12.7 hrmasia.com 41 the leadership special Ensuring a successful transition The most challenging time for leaders is often in the early days of leading and managing others. The shift from only having to manage yourself to having to manage other people around you can be challenging, especially for young, inexperienced leaders. Once the initial leadership skills have been learnt, the progression to manager of managers, and to leader of leaders becomes much easier. New CEOs can manage a transition most effectively by adhering to a number of core principals. First of all, it is important to utilise the time before entry effectively. This is a priceless period, during which a new leader can absorb information about an organisation and begin to plan. Prior to assuming the new role, the CEO should understand as much as possible about the organisation’s strategy, its strengths and weaknesses, and should have formulated some hypothesis to begin testing. It is also critically important to secure early wins. Within the first 90 days, a new CEO must have made substantial progress in energising people and focusing them on solving the business’ most pressing problems. A quick, dramatic impact is important. Momentum must go through the transition, and tangible improvements must motivate employees. New leaders are expected to “hit the ground running” They must produce results quickly while simultaneously assimilating into the organisation. The result is that a large number of newly recruited or promoted managers fail within the first year of starting new jobs. While early wins can help a new CEO get off to a good start, they are not sufficient for continued success. Deeper foundations must be extended for cultural change that is necessary to support sustained improvements in the organisation’s performance. A new CEO must lay a foundation for long-term improvements that focus on diagnosing cultural problems and taking early actions that begin to change perceptions. A new leader must get people to think differently and consider new ways of operating. Cultural change can be initiated by setting up pilot projects, changing the way performance is measured, helping Within the first 90 days a new CEO must have made substantial progress in energising people and focusing them on solving the business’ most pressing problems
  3. 3. issue 12.7 hrmasia.com42 the leadership special Employee Self Service to the rescue About the Author Professor Sattar Bawany is the Chief Learning Officer and Master Executive Coach of International Professional Managers Association in Asia-Pacific, and Adjunct Professor of Strategy of PGSM. He is also the Co-Chair of Human Capital Committee of American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Singapore). He can be contacted at sattar@ipma.com.sg and Website: www.ipma.com.sg employees develop new perspectives on customers and competitors, building up islands of excellence, or collectively envisioning new ways to operate. New CEOs must manage themselves if they are to be successful. A clear head can provide a substantial edge, as can emotional balance. Exercising clear-headed judgment, staying focused, and maintaining emotional evenness are all critical factors. It is important to maintain perspective and avoid isolation. The most common cause of failure is not technical (corporate strategy, technologies, or functional aspects of the business), but rather a failure to read and react to political currents or a failure to manage the internal challenges of the transition. New leaders are more likely to succeed if they build and utilise a balanced network of technical, political, and personal advisors. The first 90 days Leaders must identify the right goals, develop a supporting strategy, align the architecture of the organisation, and figure out what projects to pursue to secure early wins. Leaders at all levels of the organisation must demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence in their leadership role. Emotionally intelligent leaders create an environment of positive morale and higher productivity and this would result in sustainable employee engagement. The reality for leaders in transition is that relationships are great sources of leverage. By building credibility with influential players, you are better able to gain agreement on goals, and commitment to achieving those goals. In the leader’s new situation, relationship management skills are critical as they aren’t the only one going through a transition. To varying degrees, many different people, both inside and outside the leader’s direct line of command, are affected by the way he or she handles his or her new role. Put another way, leaders negotiate their way to success in their new roles.

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