Transitions – Introduction Part 1

Burning the Ladder

The act of being promoted is accompanied with the ceremonial rung burning. There’s no going back down the ladder. Similarly, crossing the bridge from one company to another results in  the bridge collapsing behind you as in some B-movie. There’s no going back there either.

Therefore, from a new employee’s perspective, there is a strong urgency, especially in today’s economic storm, to get to the point where you’re giving back more to your employer than you consume. In fact, there are grave risks for all parties if you don’t get to the break even point “fast enough”.

The Clock is Ticking

The actions you take in the first 3 months will typically decide your fate: you either succeed or not. You are vunerable during the first 3 months. You want to build momentum or you will be faced with a continual up-hill battle.

You’re not the only one transitioning. Your direct reports, in-direct reports, peers, managers and clients are all also in in-direct transition. When you think about it, it’s not uncommon to have more than one peer in transition at a time within a business unit, thus representing a significant percentage of the staff who are also in in-direct transition and whose performance is negatively impacted. The potential for failure of the business unit is real. If it’s a small business, the risk may be a complete business failure.

While transitions are fraught with risk, they’re also an important business necessity. Introducing new people to an organization introduces new ideas and preserves vitality, allowing the company to grow. However, the risks are that the new manager is unfamiliar with the culture, politics, informal lines of communication, systems and processes, products, markets and they probably don’t know anyone. And, unless you’re widely regarded like Bill Gates, you enter with zero credibility.

Ever feel you’re over your head in your new position? You’re not alone. As stated in the first blog, some 25% of Managers enter new roles and/or companies each year in the US and apparently many more after the economy recovers. All those transitions will not go well.

Costly or Differentiator?

Failing in transition is expensive on your pocket book, on your career and for the hiring company. I’ve read one fact that it costs the company on average 24x base compensation for a failed hire. Brad Smart’s numbers stated only 25% of new manager become top performers. That’s a whopping 75% failure! Imagine if you could increase success to 50%? Wouldn’t that be a huge accelerator for your company, for you? 24x seems high to me, but it’s their research. Let’s use an extreme example to illustrate the point. Let’s assume the following:

  • $150k: yearly base compensation
  • $10k: extended benefits
  • $25K: Recruiter fees
  • $500K: Direct reports (5) combined base Salary (not fully weighted)
  • $15k: Severance package

Assuming 6 months before you either self-eject or the company presses the button for you, I calculate $370k plus 6 months of less-than-stellar performance from your $500K team (won’t even factor in the in-direct reports). Not chump change for anyone, plus now you have to conduct another search, etc, etc, etc.

Value Proposition

Imagine if your company could just make one extra transition successful per year. That has to be worth something, right? Imagine if you would reduce the breakeven point by a few months and you’re building a high performance team? That has to be worth something also, right?

Convinced? I was. If you find value in this topic, I hope you’ll keep reading.

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