How can you prepare your company for a change in leadership?
As a tech startup, we've been lucky to have a tight knit team that works really well off of each other. What is the best way I can break the news of a leadership change in our startup? And how can I ensure that my employees are on board and supportive of the change?
Training and development, coaching on change leadership and how to be more flexible and agile. Online programs and ongoing training on communication and teamwork.
Start with what you know "a tight knit team that works really well off of each other" build a foundation that acknowledges growth and change applying the tools of influence. Note the tools of influence may vary with each team member. This is vary similar to what we hear from many of our great athletes "let the game come to you" then seize the opportunity. Expect to see some resistance to change as it is a normal behavior among people. Peel back the layers of resistance to understand why and then address only those issues. Most important is do not avoid addressing any resistance to change it can be like a cancer that reoccurs. Seek cures and beware of ideas and suggestions that merely treat the symptoms.
I think the best approach here is to stick with what makes your team strong today. Because you're close, you already have strong relationships. So don't be afraid to have candid conversations about what is going on, remaining transparent.
Another key component is making sure members of the team understand where they fit within the leadership change. Not everyone is guaranteed to be on board with the changes, and that's okay. There always comes a time when folks need to go their separate ways. But, so long as you had an open conversation with them about what was going on, that relationship won't be permanently damaged.
My two cents.
Pro tip: this is not an opportunity to go on a PR campaign and ram a bunch of political BS down people's throats.
Presumably you're dealing with adults - and it sounds like they all work together well. Trust them to come together (or not) as needed to manage the change.
Nothing will spark a negative chain reaction faster than making people feel like you think they are dumb or need to be "managed".
Make the announcement and call out the strengths of the move - but don't try to sell them on anything. If it's a result of something bad, don't try to falsify or hide facts (especially if it's likely they know that person X walked out over issue Y).
To get people on board, focus on the fact that the company sinks/swims as a team. Faces are bound to change at all levels of a company, and people should already know that. New face does not mean new team, and as long as the glue that makes these people work well together isn't affected, you'll be absolutely fine.
Jack, in my experience through the acquisition of two other companies and taking them under my company.Change in leadership of course effects employees, especially when employees are un-informed to due changes can make them feel unsettled and cautious of the new leaderships actions i.e. is there role secure under new leadership. Be upfront and honest about the why leadership may be changing and what benefits the company may see from this and employees should be supportive of the choices and actions.
Share your vision and goals for the company as well as how it is achievable. This should lead to the introduction / breaking the news of leadership change. If people understand the vision first and how it will benefit them and the company, it will be easier to accept leadership changes.
You can prepare your company for a change in leadership by being honest, clear and informing them of the vision the new leadership has. It is very important for people facing change to be reassured. Communicate with the staff and let them know immediately what is going on.
Personally introduce the new leader to each team member, if it's a small to medium sized team, this can be done rather quickly and it gives your team members a chance to get to know your new leader on a personal basis.
The simple answer it communicate, communicate, communicate. Much depends upon whether the change will be with insiders or placement of a totally new face. And what motivates the change.
Typically, a change at the CEO level is because of (1) performance (2) new money-a change in control (3) personal or family issues e.g. health of the CEO. (4) New expertise needed to meet plan. Discuss the reason. There is every reason to begin this exchange even before the recruiting process starts. Further, some understanding of the potential impact on the rest of the organization needs honest and open discussion.
Change is destabilizing. The employees need to feel secure, a future with promise and comfort with the successor.
Hi!! Any Change be it in leadership, or Policies etc, we must remember that we are dealing with people who are an integral part of your Company. Besides change always comes along with resistance towards an unknown, coupled with emotions. So the people of your Company need to be informed, reassured and help them to know the answer to 'whats in it for me'. Florence MacDonald