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?
Send an email, then hide.
Seriously, your team will be taking their cue from you, so keep a positive attitude and focus on the good. Make your announcement to the entire group and stress the benefits of this change and how it will affect them - then encourage their questions. They will need your assurance while they adapt.
I assume upper management already knows about this, but if not, tell them separately from the rest of the group. They deserve that.
Be honest, and be fast; try to get ahead of the rumor mill. Hold a company meeting and pass out handouts that give a bio of the new guy and include FAQ (answers to questions such as why the new guy, how does this affect me, when does he start, etc.).
After the new guy starts, hold another company meeting to introduce him, have him speak, and take questions and answers.
I know it's an overused word, but transparency is key here.
Training and development, coaching on change leadership and how to be more flexible and agile. Online programs and ongoing training on communication and teamwork.
I think that you must be very careful in your announcement to tell your team what is really going to happen. If you sold your business, the new owner might want to make changes once the powers are transferred and may make you look like a liar by making drastic changes you did not announce beforehand. I know from experience how stressful this can be for a well tuned team.
There's a good chance that people already know the former person is leaving, and may already have opinions.
Depending on how senior the team is, you might want to involve team members in vetting the new prospect, before you announce the fait accompli. "Folks, this is Voldemort, you new boss/ team member."
I was just in a client's top managers' meeting where the hire of a new manager was announced, "We're just bringing Jack on board! How exciting!" I could see the faces around the table wilt, because several of them had had prior bad experience with Jack. "Why didn't you ask us about him?" they asked.
This is particularly prevalent because so many small growing companies disparage using best HR methods to interview, vet, and hire top people. "I can interview and hire just fine." "Our headhunter says this guy is great!" "Our top investor and board member recommended her." "He has a PhD from Harvard; I'm sure he can learn to manage."
My wife is an HR consultant who is often brought in to fire these turkeys when they don't work out. "Why didn't they bring me in on the hire?" she asks. "And during the orientation?"
That totally depends on the attitude of the person vacating the leadership role and the loyalty of those under him/her. If they say its a wonderful thing nothing bad happens otherwise it can be bad.
The question is rather general, a general answer with "its depend on ..."
If the team works well - why change leaderships? What does it mean by changing leaderships? Change management team or change owners or change leadership styles?
If you still in startup, I suppose a change of leadership's style is quite common.
If a change in management team ...than depend you are referring to internal promotion or external recruiting. - probably not suitable for startup, you should be in the business expansion mode to make such change.
If change owners - well, this will be a sticky issue where the new owners should plan for it.
Any change involve resistant and acceptance. The level of resist and accept depend on many aspects ...culture, education, pace of the work, operating procedures, performance measurement system, personal relationship ...Therefore I am not in the position to advise how to prepare the change in leadership, without the above information.
If you are the founder of the company there are a few things you have to be aware of. First and foremost the culture (values) you established will not change. So most important for business continuity and profitability is hiring a new leader who is aligned with and lives by your values. A change of culture is the key to failure. Remember culture eats strategy for lunch, every time. Second you need to realize where the is the life cycle of the company. If you grew this organization in an entrepreneurial spirit and you reached a place of maintaining and growing the business through natural growth or acquisition you need someone is is NOT entrepreneurial. Do not hire in your own image only in alignment with your values.
If that is done correctly then you can transition smoothly to the new leader who recognizes the success if based on behaviour and behaviour is based on values and celebrate that culture and make e everyone feel that this is a good place and same place to work and not concerned about a change but proud of continuity.
Be honest about why the leader is leaving because they know more then you think and be up front about things. Reflect you values and the values you installed int he company and use the values and culture as the foundation and the change in the business strategy as a focus change not a culture change. The mistake is when organizations change the strategy they say it is a culture change and it is not.
Be direct and encouraging. Make sure the rest of the team understands why the change is happening and reassure them that your mission is sound and unswerving.
In my experience, every change is a great challenge. So, I recommend a personal interview with every person on your team. In that meeting is very important be clear in remark:
1. The person value for the team
2. The way he (or she) can being a contribution to the new Leadership with his personal skills: Technical and relationals
3. The way the new leadership could be a contribution for his professional growth
The one and only things it to communicate to your team regarding the upcoming changes. Let them understand why this changes is for and will it effect on them? How? Engage them positively with the total process and ask them to participate with the process. If they are ensured that they are not in threat and the change will bring a system and that is a positive side for them they will feel interest to your call. Make them express if they have any opinion.
The thing is you need to engage your employees, respect their opinions, find the talented pools and give them space for feeling their organization not your organization.
If the person that is leaving is well liked and respected, I would take them out to dinner with the team to break the news. I would assure them that the new hire will fit in seamlessly. Since you have a tight knit group chances are you know all of the personalities of your team. Just let them know that hey I know you guys and what your likes and dislikes are and would never hire someone that wouldn't mesh with our overall team.
Now if you want to take it a step further and you have a really good relationship with the person leaving, have him sit in the interviews for his replacement. Let the team know he was part of the process and helped pick someone that you know would work great with everyone else.
In most cases this will work and if your as tight as you say that you guys are, they will be supportive regardless because they care for about each other as well as the overall success of the company.
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.
The best way to break the new would be by holding a staff meeting. I would not advice you to send memo of the recent change. It would be ideal by softly describing them about the recent change. In the meeting you should not make your employees feel something is going on wrong.
Hi Jack. Transparency breeds trust and lack breeds distrust. Keep that in mind.
However, just because you are being transparent DOES NOT mean you are communicating well. This is a serious problem for leaders at every level. You must put yourself in the shoes of those who are hearing the news, as best you can. Then craft what you are going say around what they are thinking and feeling.
Get someone who is outside work to listen to what you are going to say. Make sure it still makes sense.
Last bit - you are always adding or deducting to your Trust Account with everyone around you. Even with bad news, you can add to your Trust Account. Just think real long and hard about how.
Good luck to you!
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
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.
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.
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.