With the rate of change and volatile marketplace dynamics that characterize the “New Normal,” traditional orientation and on-boarding approaches are no longer sufficient for newly-hired leaders. New leaders need an opportunity to diagnose the situation while executing. Without this critical assessment component, new leaders easily fall into an activity trap, where they are handling day-to-day responsibilities, but never have an opportunity to step back and assess the business landscape and make strategic decisions. This gap often continues through the leadership pipeline, as the next level up reacts and responds, rather than demonstrating business acumen.
The three phases of HUDSON Research & Consulting approach to New Leader On-Boarding addresses these important needs in the first 90 days following promotion:
1) First 14-30 days: New Leader Orientation/Build Relationships
The first phase of on-boarding focuses on gaining an understanding of the new role as a manager of people, and what success looks like. New leaders create alignment with their managers and are introduced to key members of their critical business networks, as well as their team of direct reports. The new leader uses an Orientation Guide, which focuses discussions early on, regarding common goals and working together in a purposeful way that drives success. These initial conversations help the new leader assess people who are critical to business success and at the same time, establish positive working relationships.
The key elements of the Business Dashboard are described next.
2) First 90 Days: Diagnose Business Opportunities
New leaders use our automated Business Dashboard to gain a 360-degree perspective of key business levers; establish productive relationships with their peers; assess the strengths and weaknesses of their direct report team; and begin to evaluate the dynamics of business opportunities and challenges. Over the course of on-boarding, leaders populate this automated tool with specific metrics and use this data to create a business plan that creates alignment up, down and across their area of responsibility.
The Dashboard can be designed so it aligns with core competencies and may also be designed to link to other critical business processes.
The New Leader Dashboard begins with Instructions for both new leaders and their managers, who identify their priorities for the newly-promoted Leader, helping to create alignment and clarity early on. Additionally, the instructions define key sources of data for the new leader, such as:
- Employee Opinion Survey data
- Interviews with subject-matter experts.
The instructions clarify the scoring of the Dashboard and emphasize the importance of making trade-off decisions that lead to success.
Inside the Dashboard, new leaders evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the business/situation they have inherited. The Dashboard may be based on leadership competencies or existing scorecard metrics.
The focus is on applying critical skills for success.
The Dashboard provides roll up summary data, displayed both as Top Strengths and Opportunities, as well as graphical bar charts of highs and lows. The new leader uses the roll up data to create a Business Plan that s/he will present to the manager, gaining clarity about short-term wins and longer-term strategy for the business.
90-120 Days: Align with Boss/Execute Business Plan
The third phase of on-boarding focuses on gaining alignment with the manager, based on the diagnostic assessment of business challenges and opportunities, defining strategic business goals and going deeper on key management competencies.
The HUDSON Research & Consulting On-boarding approach has been used in a variety of industries, including beverages, consumer products, financial services and pharmaceuticals. The methodology presented here has been used with a wide variety of roles and functions, including: General Manager, Sales Leader, Operations Manager, HR, Customer Service and Finance.
- Accelerate productivity and engagement from the start.
- Provide a framework for diagnosing while leading.
- Build new leader success from Day One for competitive advantage.
- Integration following a merger
- GM Onboarding