Friday, January 22, 2016

graceful transitions

Over the past 18 months, I have watched many transitions take place at Concordia University Texas, beginning with my own.  Some of them went very well...and others left something to be desired.  Leaders of organizations always hope for graceful transitions - people leaving well and others taking on their new responsibilities well.  Transitions are a part of every organization, so it behooves the leadership of institution to do everything they can to ensure a smooth transition.  What might that look like?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • prepare the institution - transparency during transitions is critical.  why is the person leaving?  who is the new person coming in?  what, if any, changes can be expected?  why might this person have been chosen over another?
  • honor the person leaving - not always easy to do depending on the circumstances, but anything that can be done to highlight the positive contributions this person has made will ensure a smooth transition.
  • prepare a clear position description for the new person - if they know what they are to be doing, it will help everyone involved.  Sharing that position description with those who they manage can also help in the long run.
  • figure out the right time frame between announcement and change- too short of a time frame does not allow for the institution to thank the person and make preparations...too long of a time frame can make for awkward situations and rumors to persist.
  • get everyone on the same page - what is the story you will share with the public?  Trying to come to an agreement with the person leaving and the rest of the team certainly helps the institution and the incoming person.
  • share what is expected in the transition period - letting people know what the new person is expected to accomplish in the first week, month, and three months helps everyone manage the transition better.
  • on-board properly - rather than jumping right into their work, take time to introduce the new person to others in the organization and allow them to get acquainted with the work and people involved.  This is also a great opportunity to honor the person who has left.
  • don't forget the one who is no longer there - stay in touch with that person...give them access to information...remember them in public...invite them to be a part of the future of the organization...and remind others of the impact they had while they were a part of the team.
Planning for graceful transitions is a part of any leader's job...may it go well for you and, where it has not gone so well, plan on some way to repair the less than graceful transition with the individuals involved.

1 comment:

LearnerJim said...

A formal assimilation meeting with the team the new person will be joining can also be valuable where they share their expectations and dreams and everyone can comment and ask questions. This is particularly important if the new person is the team leader.