Understanding company culture is crucial to new leader’s success.

Hiring executives I speak with often respond to the question of whether or not they are planning to support the new leader they just hired with transition coaching with a skeptical response at first.  It usually goes something like, “Why would we do that?  We just invested thousands of dollars in headhunting and recruiting this leader.”  They also may be spending money on relocating the leader’s family, moving their home and belongings.  And the more senior the role, the greater the investment.

At this point I will ask, “What is the cost to the organization if the new leader does not shift and adapt to the new culture they are walking into?”  Most of us would agree, a good fit in skills and experience does not guarantee fit.  Cultural fit is possibly the most important of all factors and the likeliest one that will determine success or failure.

Their response again is one of skepticism.  “If we managed our selection process effectively, shouldn’t the right mind set and fit have been assessed in the interviews?  Thus the newly selected leader will come with cultural fit in their collection of other skills, experience and assets, so why should we invest further in them after they join us?”

If this was always true, then why does research indicate such dismal statistics such as:

  • Up to 30 percent of executives who get transferred from one country to another, terminate their contracts early or just make it through their term.
  • Approximately 40% of leaders “fail” within the first eighteen months in a new role, and the shockwaves of their fall are felt exponentially throughout the organization.

With total cost of turnover including hard dollars and lost productivity predicted to be approximately 48% – 61% of salary, organization’s who do not  invest in assisting the  new executive in shifting his or her mindset to the new culture, are putting a lot of their already spent dollars at risk.  This is where Role Transition coaching fits in.  This form of executive coaching assists newly hired or promoted leaders to succeed in a new and changing world, where everything they do is affected by culture.  And different forms of coaching are now available to more than executives at costs more affordable than ever.

Role Transition strategies are not just getting some quick insight into the cultural dos and don’ts of the new company, and completing an initial round of introductions to get acquainted.  These are helpful, but a truly effective role transition strategy has substantive steps, tools, skills and resources.

I will continue writing about best practices that work for my clients who are thriving in their new roles and doing so in shorter time periods they thought was possible.

Written by:  Diane Ring, Executive Coach specializing in leadership role transitions.  dring@paragon-lead.com

For more information about Paragon’s offerings in Role Transitions for leaders at all levels, go to our website.


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