Challenges for the executive when moving organisations…
Even when you’re near, or at, the top of an organisation, it’s not set in stone that you’ll never again change jobs. Moving to a new company can be just as unnerving, disruptive and traumatic – probably, even more so – than it would be for anyone else in the company. Below are common challenges executives face in such a situation, and ways to tackle those issues.
It’s entirely plausible for many executives that, if they move organisations, they may have to relocate too. Due to honed, niche skill-sets and years of experience, for top-level executives, it’s likely that their next role will come looking for them, rather than the reverse. This, of course, has a bigger impact than just the job change, it can mean the whole family being uprooted, and urgent searches for new schools and a new home.
From a business perspective, coming to a new location means an element of education: on the area’s demographics and consumer habits, on prominent people/stakeholders in the locality, and the perception/reputation their new company attracts.
Preparation is key: finding out as much information about the new area – from all members of the family’s viewpoints – will help the transition process and any reservations about the move. Making sure all the family understands and accepts, the reasons for the move should reduce any resistance they may feel.
With much responsibility and little autonomy typical of roles near the top of an organisation, it’s important that the executive ascertains what they want from their next position – such as their motivations and interests, because it’s unlikely there’ll be a standard job spec.
It’s essential executives clarify goals and targets they’d personally like to achieve so that they progress their own development as well as that of the company.
Leaving a role may not be straightforward for the senior executive, who may be midway through crucial projects and innovative development. Timescales and handover processes need to be determined, so that there’s less risk of disruption to the organisation as a result of the departure.
Particularly concerning head-hunting, it’s plausible that the executive’s new role won’t be ready immediately; some companies strive to secure the best talent as soon as they know a key position is likely to be open, or if someone is set to retire.
In this situation, find out if it’s feasible to spend a little time in the new organisation whilst also still working in your present company. Sometimes it may be possible to take on an interim or consultancy role, if the timescale of your transition is particularly lengthy.
Following big footsteps…succession planning
Imagine the mind-set of the chief executive and his team who had to follow Steve Jobs – the legacy or impact a previous leader leaves can be big shoes to fill.
Even though those in the organisation are looking for continuation, it’s often wise to use the opportunity to evaluate the direction of the company and its practices. Sticking to ‘old ways’ may now not be commercially viable in the face of a continually moving and competitive market.
Everyone has their own ideas; it’s natural for the new leader and his team to want to implement their own plans. It’s possible, however, to respect the past yet still implement radical change, with structured change management initiatives.
Looking forward, not back
It can be a very testing time, moving organisations, particularly for the executive who may have introduced significant practices, products or a culture in their time with their old company. Starting from scratch to put your own stamp on things within the new organisation may evoke feelings of loss for what you’re leaving behind.
Seeing your move as a new challenge that could lead to even bigger successes is a good approach; look to build on your past achievements. It’s also feasible that there’s more scope with your new organisation to achieve, if it’s a bigger company than the one you’re departing from.
Time will help, but in the interim, remaining positive for your family during the transition, your old and new colleagues, and for the benefit of your own mind-set, will make it much smoother.
As an executive coach, I can help your transition from one company to the next, and with any of the feelings associated with the above challenges. Contact me on 01302 220021, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat regarding your circumstances.
Thanks to stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net for use of the main image.