Global Engagement
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delivering successful leadership transitions

‘the art & science of baton passing’

The use of ‘search and selection’ is now commonplace for senior appointments. We recognise its value both in identifying candidates who may not otherwise have been considering a new role and in encouraging quality candidates to apply.

Increasingly, however, we also see the need to support senior leaders in the stage immediately following their appointment as they are passed the ‘baton’ of leadership. During this period a number of ‘transition’ leadership challenges and risks can arise for;

  • 1the incoming new leader;
  • 2the existing senior leadership team; and
  • 3the existing leader.

Our role is to reduce or eliminate the risks, which can arise as well as ensure organisational momentum, is not lost during the transition period. We see our role as independent ‘critical friends’ - professionals who can advise on how to ensure new appointment(s) really do deliver the improved performance you are seeking.

Whether it is a new Vice Chancellor or CEO or a member of the senior leadership the need to carefully plan for succession and consider the impact of new appointments on other members of the organisation is, we believe, vital.

In this section we outline what we do, where we focus our attention and some of the many ways in which we work at the key stages of the transition process and why you might involve us.

the impact of inadequate transition planning

In many instances, the fit of the person to the organisation is well matched, the motivations of both candidate and institution are in alignment and the cultural connections are appropriate to deal with the challenges, which will arise in the future.

In other cases, however, these outcomes are not the case and failure, sometimes in a very public manner can occur. The early promise fails to materialise and the person ‘moves on’ after a relatively short period of time. In other instances the person is appointed but seems unable to really have any leadership impact and the hoped for change never really happens and whilst not overtly failing, is perceived as constrained and limited in what they deliver. Sometimes the process was flawed – poor strategic assessment of the need, a limited pool of candidates and/or a badly executed selection process all conspire to the panel making the wrong decision. Add the lack of any transition support and it is likely that a very expensive and damaging decision has to be ‘undone’ – with all the cost, collateral damage and loss of momentum associated with such an outcome.