New leader, new regime

Five minutes after you have finished rejoicing you have to recognise that you
are in a crisis. At first you think you understand why your boss’s departure
took place, although you can’t be sure, then you have got to work out what you
have to do to be successful.

However close you were to your boss, when they resign it is smart to assume
that there could be reasons behind that decision to which you were not privy.
The immediate strategy is to gather as much information as possible about the
circumstances that face the company and to understand that regime change, rather
than your bottom on a new seat, is what is called for. Only then can you work
out how to reinvent yourself.

Immediately ask your peers for their unfettered opinions of what they feel
the future needs to be. Listen carefully for the signals that would endorse the
view already expressed that a regime change is essential, and consider how your
behaviour will determine the regime change. Move quickly and decisively, having
worked out a short- and medium-term plan.

Understand that your predecessor could have been doing the right things but
going about them in the wrong way. Communication of your plans is a critical
part of your early impact and success. Don’t over-promise too early.

Last but not least, get yourself a coach. You need somebody who is not on the
payroll in whom you can confide regarding your research, your observations and
proposals, who can then provide you with objective advice. Coaching is a
much-abused term ­ it means too many things to too many people. Choose a coach
with a substantial reputation and expect a fee for those services of anything up
to £7,500 per quarter depending upon your and their seniority.

Don’t go near practitioners whose claim to fame is that they were retired,
made redundant and who thought they could pick up fees via a bit of, what they
consider to be, coaching. Coaching is a specialised task that requires experi
ence of running operations and psychology. You cannot learn from theoretical

Remember that in today’s competitive corporate world a mis-guided promotion
can cost an organisation millions of pounds. Never forget that a move of this
kind could be career making ­ or breaking. Don’t wing it.

Andrew Garner is CEO of Garner International

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