Louis explores how you could thrive when your organization's culture suddenly changes.
President, JB Homer Associates
JOINING THE CULTURE CLUB
by Louis Gerzofsky
Director, Technology Recruiting & Executive Coaching
All too often, we field calls from extremely accomplished executives who find themselves out of step within their organizations. Most times, there's been significant turnover at the C level and a new executive team has arrived from a company with a vastly different culture: hierarchical replaces flat structure; aggressive and transactional instead of laid back and consensus building; international instead of domestic; and on and on.
We constantly advise our clients and candidates that you cannot expect to remain with one or two companies for your entire career. You will need to adapt to different organizational cultures as you change jobs. But just as significantly, your employer may change cultures right under your nose. What happens when a private equity company with its eye on every penny acquires your company and your department's budget is suddenly under a microscope? Or, your domestic apparel brand is sold to a global conglomerate based on another continent and you're suddenly reporting to an executive team that is literally from another culture.
What is the best way to read the tea leaves and adapt to the new organization?
- Know thy environment: Observe and listen. Learn who the power players are and what's important to them. Rigorously re-evaluate your three year road map. There may be key components in it that don't map well with the new leadership team and its priorities for your organization. Now is the time to show the new leaders just how adaptable you are to a changing environment and circumstances.
- Activate your network: You may be surprised by who in your network - colleagues, consultants, vendors, etc. - might personally know one or more of the new team and that knowledge will accelerate your ability to better understand and communicate with the new power players in your organization. In today's connected world, it's more like three degrees of separation than six.
- Let the game come to you: In competitive sports, athletes tend to commit the most errors when they're in too much of a rush: likewise in the executive suite. Don't seem too eager to be heard or to make an immediate impact.
- Know thyself: Conduct a thorough self-assessment of your unique abilities and personality both from your perspective as well as your professional colleagues. If you retained copies of your 360 degree performance reviews, go back to them and read them with fresh eyes. Share them with a trusted colleague, your spouse or executive coach. The people who know and understand you better than anyone can help you identify and implement the critical adjustments you will need to thrive in a new corporate culture.
I'll leave you with the following thought:
If you would like to share your own insights,
"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit."
please contact Louis using our Online Contact Form