On-Boarding Coaching

Maximizing leadership impact at entry

Background: Successful entry and engagement is essential to the long-term success of any newly recruited leader. Yet most companies have no disciplined on-boarding process to guide their new executives; the multi-billion dollar training and development budget is applied well after entry.

In effect, new leaders make their own way, using an informal, individually defined approach, relying upon past experience and minimal guidance from their new boss and Human Resources consultant. Interviews reveal that the majority of new executives experience significantly more frustration and stress than they had anticipated, as their attempts to make the contributions they were hired for meet unanticipated resistance and roadblocks. Temporary or permanent derailment is frequently the consequence. Yet rarely is derailment the result of the wrong skill-sets and experience. Rather, the difference between success and derailment often comes down to political missteps that occur when the new leader drives too quickly towards getting results before fully understanding: 1) their role and expectations; and 2) critical organizational, cultural, behavioral and political realities and their fit with his/her management style.

The cost of early derailment is enormous in terms of dollars (over 225% of annual salary), productivity and morale. It appears even more dramatic when one considers that the single most important success factor in the world’s most profitable companies is the continuous influx of new top talent and outflow of bottom third performers.

Rationale for On-boarding Consulting: Entry represents a narrow window of opportunity to make a lasting and positive impact during a period of heightened expectations and scrutiny. The new leader is eager to make an impact; the boss is concerned about having made the right decision; the staff is eager for direction and leadership but wary of newcomers with power over them. The impressions made when the cement is fresh are the most lasting, and the urge to act quickly and make those impressions is strong. Of all the points in time of one’s tenure, entry is perhaps the most important and most challenging. It calls for a process and framework that identifies critical steps, provides cultural, political and organizational guidance, and organizes the vast series of “to-do’s” that will no doubt bombard the executive.

Process: “Executive On-Boarding Consulting” is designed to provide the newly appointed executive with the guidance necessary to maximize his or her influence and leadership during their first 90 days. While the emphasis is on coaching the new executive, LED assists the hiring manager and organization in preparing for and facilitating successful entry and engagement. With expertise in leadership and organizational development, and years of experience coaching executives, LED consultants are uniquely qualified as objective non-stakeholders with a solid understanding of organizational culture and leadership development.

Core Deliverables: This process is designed to provide support to the organization and its newly recruited (or promoted) executives, as each the needs of each case dictate.

Executive support: While each executive’s experience with their on-boarding consultant will be unique and customized to fit their needs, the following are some of the core components of the process:

Mapping out the “lay of the new land”:

  1. Identifying key stakeholders and their expectations, priorities, styles, and linkages.
  2. Defining the relevant products, processes, accountabilities and resources
  3. Defining the critical cultural, political, and organizational style factors and how they fit with the management style of the new executive.
  4. Building networks for information, support, resource sharing, etc.
  5. Pulling together a calendar that includes recurring key processes and events in both their functional areas and line of business (e.g., performance management, budget, planning, off-sites and other major non-negotiables).
  6. Providing guidance, through ongoing one-on-one meetings, on maximizing influence based on the executive’s particular style and that of the key executives with which they will be interacting.
  7. Planning and prioritizing for first 30, 60 and 90 days:
  8. Clarifying expectations and performance contract with manager
  9. Getting input from various stakeholders
  10. Articulating and communicating a vision, including the qualities of the organization that must be built to realize this vision
  11. Assessing current against desired organization
  12. Building a leadership team that will in turn be responsible for developing the organization necessary to deliver on goals
  13. Defining and communicating expectations for individuals and teams for how everyone in the organization can contribute to winning.

Organizational support:

  1. Assisting the organization in developing the processes, guidance and overall environment necessary for newly recruited executives to thrive.
  2. Assisting hiring manager in successfully shepherding new executive.