We meet many of our clients when they are in the middle of navigating transitions.
Something is changing inside their organization, especially something people-related. Market conditions are changing outside their organization. Their community is changing around them.
Transitions are stressful, disorienting, sometimes terrifying. They are also a tremendous opportunity, if you learn how to navigate and leverage them with character and wisdom.
If you find yourself in the middle of transition, take heart from three principles we have learned from colleagues and clients about how to transition wisely and well.
- Demonstrate Credibility – leaders who navigate transition well are consistently even-handed and fair and in so doing have built up reservoirs of trust – ‘deposits’ if you will – which can be drawn upon in the uncertain and occasionally fearful times transition brings about.
- Practice Transparency – the temptation for leaders in transition is to hoard information to protect processes or to deflect criticism. The best transition navigators default to sharing as much information as possible unless to do so will give away trade secrets or irreplaceable intellectual property. This includes information about the conditions that have led to decisions about transition, the rationale for tough calls related to transition, and the long-term effects of transition on those in the organization.
- Lead With Honor – especially in the case where transitions result in tough personnel decisions, unless an employee was dismissed for ethical or legal reasons every effort is made to honor those leaving, thank them for their contributions and point out their positive characteristics. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it engenders trust and loyalty in those who stay behind. Team members are exponentially more likely to behave in an honorable way when they are convinced their leaders and their organizations are themselves honorable.
A worthy exercise is to conduct a transition inventory of yourself and your organization.
Consider each of the principles of transition – are you and your organization credible, transparent, and honorable? What do you need to do, whom do you need to consult in order to bring your level up to excellent for each of the three principles?