Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Secrets of Successful Onboarding

Michael Watkins; Picking the right transition strategy; Harvard Business Review (2009) identified that there are four broad types of situations  a new leader may encounter:

·      Start-up –get a new business or product off the ground
·      Turnaround –get a group that is recognized to be in trouble back on track
·      Realignment –revitalize a unit that is drifting into trouble
·      Sustaining success –preserve the vitality of a successful organization and take it to the next level
For best results, a new leader’s own strategy should match the situation they face, however the organization can help the new leader get on the right track from the get go.

In their book First Time Leader George Bradt and Gillian Lewis identify a 5 step process for successful onboarding a new leader using the BRAVE acronym. BRAVE is a leadership framework that helps new leaders successfully build their team by uniting them around a shared purpose.

Behaviors – The actions that make real lasting impact on others
Relationships – The heart of leadership. If you can’t connect, you can’t lead
Attitudes – Encompassing strategic, posture, and culture choices around how to win
Values – The bedrock of a high performing team. Get clear on what really matters

Environment – Setting the context for everything else by understanding where you are playing.

When a new leader actually approaches each of the five components, they’ll do it in reverse order:

1.    Start with your analysis of the Environment. Get clear on where you are going to play, who you are going to compete with.
2.    Then, align your team around shared Values and what success will look like. At this point you know what you want to achieve, and why.
3.    Attitude is all about strategy and the organizational posture and culture that will drive it. Once the strategy is set, execution happens through relationships and behaviors.
4.    Relationships are how you communicate your strategy internally and externally and delegate appropriately. This step also involves acquiring and developing talent, as appropriate.
5.    Finally, Behaviors are what put your strategy into action. It’s the art of getting things done through other people by effective project management.

The end result is an actionable plan that will help the new leader become a leader that produces results – not just a boss that delegates – by inspiring others around a shared purpose and enabling them to do their best work. 

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