In this President's Letter Louis explores the concept:
So you say you really want transformation?
What are the ramifications that come with real change?
President, JB Homer Associates
Organizational Transformation and Executive Selection
The Courage of Your Hiring Convictions
"The task of the leader is to get his people from
where they are to where they have not been."
'Transformation' and 'Change' are probably the two most common words we hear when a client is describing the reasons for the search we're about to commence.
"The reason we've retained your firm is that our company is about to undergo a transformation. Therefore, we need someone who can change the organization."
As soon as these words are spoken, we pose questions that help you assess your readiness for transformation:
- Are you prepared to hire a person who will very likely disrupt your company in ways that you haven't considered?
- Do you have the requisite talent within your leadership team to move towards transformation?
- What have you done to prepare your company for the impact this new person will have on your company's culture?
CEO's will frequently go outside of their organization for talent when they recognize that their transformation strategy probably won't succeed unless they engage in what I like to call 'executive cross pollination'. They deliberately hire outside of their company's industry or culture to lead the organization in a new direction.
How do you prepare your organization for the arrival of an executive whose mission will be, in large part, to effect change and transformation...and disruption? What are the qualities you will need to successfully assimilate this new and probably controversial addition to your leadership team?
Here are a few suggestions to consider as you prepare for this critical hire:
Message Consistency: Everyone on your leadership team needs to be on the same page and able to explain and sell the need for this new hire. Uncertainty and resistance will ripple through your company, damaging both morale and your strategy, unless you have invested the time and effort to explain your rationale for this hire.
Process Driven Communications: Saying your office door will always be open isn't a communication strategy (and will likely waste your precious time). Knowing how your new hire is affecting your organization, particularly during his first three to six months of employment, could be the difference between the transformation's success or failure. Your Human Resources partner can play a significant role, helping you design a formal communications process with feedback loops so that you and your team can make course corrections during the critical early days.
Executive Courage: True, organizational transformation, particularly when it's being driven by a new change agent, will test your leadership fortitude the way few other decisions will in your career. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to hear the complaints and roadblocks that will inevitably emerge and then lead your organization beyond the obstacles and into the future?
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Next month's edition will discuss some of the reasons for organizational transformations and how 'executive cross pollination' can help drive your strategy's success.