- Posted by Patrick Reilly on September 12th, 2008 filed in Executive Onboarding, Talent Management, Change Management
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Senior executives are changing jobs at rates faster than ever and the consequences of poor talent management are significant. According to one study by Booz Allen Hamilton (2007), global CEO turnover is at roughly 15%. This is the highest it has been in the past decade. Another study shows that 40% of new leaders fail within the first 18 months (Talent Strategies Update, 2006). In fact, there’s a 50% chance an executive will quit or be fired within his/her first three years. (Aon Consulting, 2005) With odds like that it is no surprise that leading corporations are investing significant dollars on talent management, onboarding programs, and formal mentoring programs for new or transitioning executives.
If you have recently transitioned to a new role within your company be sure to ask about internal onboarding support and take advantage of existing best practices in the field including individual coaching, leadership style profiles and executive team development. Recognize your company has made an investment in you well beyond your salary and sign-on bonus. Take the initiative to explore important questions that can make or break your success.
- What key results are needed now?
- What attributes are most admired in this corporate culture?
- What does it take to be seen as a leader here?
- Who are the informal and formal opinion leaders?
- What is the story of success in this division or company?
Next, it is key to understand that a successful transition takes time. Research suggests on average a mid-level senior manager needs slightly more than six months to “break even”—he or she begins to contribute to the organization at a level equal to the cost of bringing him or her on board (Wells, S. J. “Diving In”. HR Magazine, 2005, March). Set realistic goals during your transition and manage performance expectations to avoid early burn out or worse—deadly mistakes.
Successful onboarding is also a team effort. Make sure that you engage your direct reports in the onboarding process. Leverage their history and knowledge within the company to introduce you to key customers, stakeholders, and other departments. Listen carefully to the issues that surface, the stories told and the needs for change that are presented to you. Your team is a vital mechanism to help you acculturate quickly to the new work place environment.
Perhaps the most difficult element of onboarding is handling your own “blind spots”. Despite your technical expertise, be aware that it’s the soft skills that often hinder a career. A transition coach can be an important resource for improving your public speaking, executive presence, or time and project management.
A comprehensive, systemic approach is best for successfully managing the ROI of new talent. Managing the ROI of talent management is a team effort, that requires clear strategy, focus and authentic dialogue to make the most of a successful executive transition.
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