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Here’s How to Make the Best of a Transition

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are faced with change. Growth requires nimble action. People selected for management and leadership roles have to be nimble too.

If you’ve ever been given an opportunity to take on a new management role, you know the feeling. What do I do now?

Facing a new transition at work can be daunting. But it can also be effective and impactful if you have a plan.

While coaching many of my corporate clients, they are faced with a promotion or reorganization that puts them in new roles. The first thing I recommend is to create a 100-day plan.

Having such a plan makes you intentional about how you spend those early days making the transition. The more intentional you become, the more likely you will have a positive outcome.

Without a plan, you drift through the early days in the role, possibly accomplishing very little.

On occasion, I’ll have a client who pushes back on the plan idea. The argument is “I don’t want to be pushy. I want to get to know the landscape, the players, etc.”

My reply is to ask whether they can afford to be slow in building a direction for the new group? Without a plan, any road will get you there, but it likely won’t be the best outcome.

With a plan, you can begin to cast the vision and direction for the new team. While you won’t need to know everything about the new transition, you can make educated choices for what to include in the plan.

The Plan’s Content

Here are some ideas for what to bake into your 100-day plan.

First, learn the new structure. Get a solid understanding of where your new unit sits in the overall structure of the business. Get a grip on the role you will be playing in the overall scheme of things.

Next, meet and learn about your team. This is not just the basic meet and greet, but an intentional effort to really learn who your people are. Ask them about experience, motivations, and their own ideas about where they are trying to go in their careers.

Learning about your team’s strengths and weaknesses can better inform your plan for ways to optimize the process for delivery and execution of work. Plus you can identify gaps in talent that may be present.

Setting the Plan

Further, you should identify stakeholders. Every operating team in an organization has stakeholders. Figure out who yours may be. Then start introducing yourself to them, seeking input and coordination.

Design for yourself a value proposition that explains the purpose of your team. At the heart of all work product is some form of value that should be created for the greater good of the business. If you don’t know your value to the bigger picture, you will never be able to organize the work effort.

Having a solid value proposition helps you explain to your team and others why your unit exists. This is especially helpful in reorganizations. Often new teams get created from some big master plan from the CEO, but detailed value props are not defined. The more you can control the creation of the value proposition, the better you and your team will perform.

All of your work creating the plan will have to be aligned with your boss and those above that level. Craft your plan, then get alignment with your boss. Adjust as you need to, but get it coordinated with the rest of the organization.

Next Steps

Once you have crafted a 100 day plan for yourself, you can begin working through the steps. Following the plan can help you achieve greater, more intentional results.

I use the word intentional a lot. I like it because it has purpose and substance for achieving measurable results. Without intention in what you choose to do, you are just burning daylight.

Your situation may require more detail in the plan. Explore the new setting, learn as much as you can about the tasks in front of you. Then decide on elements that need to be in the plan.

Regardless of the nature of the work, there is always room for a plan.

A Story

I’ll close with a story about one of my executive coaching clients. Midway through our engagement, he was invited to apply for a big VP job in the company. The opportunity was a huge step up for him. It could make him one of the youngest VPs in the buisness.

I suggested he design the 100 day plan, even though he didn’t yet have the job. I told him it would be a great way for him to orgnaize his thoughts and prepare for the round of interviews that would certainly happen. He did it.

During an interview with the COO, he laid out the plan; literally opening up some charts and diagrams he had crafted. They talked for a few more minutes.

Then the COO said, come with me, bring the plan. They walked over to the CEO’s office. The COO said “We found our guy. Look at this plan. It’s exactly what we’ve been talking about for the direction of this group.”

My client won the job and the big promotion. The 100-day plan works.

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