A client recently took on a new position in an organization. She has been identified as a potential leader and is given the task of rebuilding a department decimated by turnover. Those remaining are there not by choice; they are there for the paycheck.
Stepping in to a “new” leadership position
To top it off, the “new” of the position means it is new to my client. She is coming in from the outside with related – but not specific – background to the role.
She agreed that a “first 90 days” plan was a great idea and would keep her focused, as many things and people would pull at her. The department is crucial to operations and there would be much attention on her in the role.
Here is a general outline of where she started:
a. Identify roles – filled and unfilled
b. Get to know talent of those in the group
c. Assess fit – first pass
d. Build relationship with human resources
e. Connect with clients
a. What is working?
b. Where are holes?
c. What are urgent needs?
a. What do we do well?
b. What do we not do so well?
c. What needs to be added?
d. What is our path going forward?
But there was one key component missing…
I am a supporter of a focused plan, which this is, with three key components. Not many of us can keep our eye on several different balls at once…effectively. But I do think there is an essential component missing. What do you think it might be?
It is building relationships beyond her group and its immediate clients. The organization is large and her group impacts and serves a good portion of the organization. Yes, she needs to know her group, process and product.
Rebuilding relationships beyond the group is vital
Yet, she also needs to rebuild the relationship of her group with the greater organization. The clients are the organization, and she needs to know:
1. Who are they?
2. What is the status of the relationship?
3. What deliverables are due?
This means a lot of networking and relationship building on her part, which didn’t intuitively seem the path to run down. She is new to the product and process and wanted to focus much of her time here to be fully knowledgeable before building (rebuilding!) relationships with clients.
Transitioning to a new leadership role? Ask these 3 questions.
With her need to turn around this group, it is far more important to rely on the expertise of those already in the group to address specific questions. She will focus on the relationships to ensure the continued viability of her group moving forward.
1. How well established are your relationships with clients and other stakeholders?
2. Do you have supporters across the organization?
3. Who can you count on to have your back?
Learning where they keep the pencils will be something you master in your first few days. Make sure you build those relationships and in the organization.
Need a refresher on your networking skills? This article outlines all the steps to help you network effectively, and the importance of relationships – both internal and external.