New Team Transition Process

New Team Transition Process

Mergers and acquisitions can have enormous benefit for a company — but what about employees? As a leader in the "new" organization, you are entering a time of intense action and learning. What you may not realize is that while you may be excited by this new opportunity, those reporting to you or new colleagues probably have many unanswered questions about your vision and management style.

From the time a change is announced, a series of events typically occurs. Emphasis tends to shift away from relationships and toward tasks that must be performed. As a result, communication may be strained. Important, time-critical decisions may be made hastily or postponed until the new leadership team assumes authority. Employees may feel abandoned and anxious about what will happen to them as well as their department or function. In cases where employees are happy about the changes, they may have unrealistic expectations of what the new organization will be like.

Leaders not only need to learn not only the business, but also the strengths, weaknesses and expectations of employees and colleagues. You will be grappling with a new situation and trying to understand the tasks and problems while assessing the organization and its requirements. Because you are learning, you may find yourself making decisions slowly and laboriously, focusing on short-range issues.

When unmanaged these transitions can result in role ambiguity, reduced communication and jockeying for position. Failure to recognize and deal with the complexities of a transition can lead to lower performance for an entire work group. Our New Team Transition Process is designed to accelerate the process by which a new team coordinates their efforts and develop effective business practices.

Although the New Team Transition Process can be useful for any new team, it is especially appropriate when:

  • you need quick results
  • eadership is unknown
  • breaks in organization continuity are unacceptable
  • there is little time for sorting and identifying problems
  • the new leadership team is facing significantly increased scope and has additional reports
  • there are significant style differences between team members and/or leaders.

We customize the process to meet your needs in the design phase. Typically we begin the process by conducting one-on-one interviews with the leadership team members. Where appropriate, we suggest focus groups with representatives of the employee population. These interviews and focus groups will identify issues that need to be addressed. Then we facilitate a half-day or one-day meeting to accomplish the following objectives:

  • develop and/or refine short-term strategies
  • develop a greater understanding of each others' expectations for building and maintaining effective working relationships
  • clarify individual roles and responsibilities for interfacing with each other in the work group
  • identify and discuss critical business issues
  • establish a common understanding and action plan for addressing identified issues and concerns

To be most effective, the meeting needs to be facilitated by someone outside of the organization so that more open communication can be fostered and biases eliminated. The facilitator will play a significant role in the design of the meeting in conjunction with the new executive. The need for follow-up meetings and interviews is discussed during the design process.

Here are some examples of how this meeting helps.

  • The President of an Amoco business unit stated this was the most valuable meeting he had ever participated in because it enabled him to achieve in one day what might otherwise take 3-6 months.
  • The CFO of a national health care organization needed to significantly reduce accounts-receivable days and the time it took to close the books. Because he came in as part of an acquisition, there was significant tension among employee groups of the different companies. We conducted individual interviews with the employees and quickly determined the underlying cause of the tension. After the group meeting, the newly merged teams stated there was a "significant difference in the way they worked together." Further, their goals of accounts-receivable and close of book days were achieved within three months.
  • The VP of Business Development for a newly acquired software company was struggling with how to retain her talented staff — they felt disengaged once they were no longer an independent company, but a division of a larger company. Several creative ideas came as a result of our assessments and meetings, which helped the team feel valued for their contributions and increased productivity by leveraging the resources of both organizations.

For new teams, especially those impacted by a merger or acquisition, the New Team Transition can help you accelerate your transition while you mobilize an effective team to accomplish the business goals that are important to your organization's success.


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