Survive the Role Transition: Be Strategic

Role transitions can be both exciting and overwhelming.  Making the most out of your first 90 days is critical to your success as a leader. Helping your new leader make the most out of his or her first 90 days is critical to your success as their manager. Unfortunately, helping new employees achieve a fast start is often overlooked!

In our last post, "Hire 'em and Leave 'em", you saw the morbid stats of role transitions without an official onboarding or accelerated role transition program. It doesn't have to be this way.

Focus, planning and strategic action will help accelerate any role transition.

So what do you focus on or what would you have your new leader do to keep everyone associated with the transition productively occupied?

Here are some first steps:

  1. Build a framework. Schedule some time to build a framework with activities and timelines for the ramp up to full speed. The first 90 days on the job lends itself to lots of aimless wandering and productivity loss without structure. What needs to be known about the company? the role itself? the team/stakeholders?
  2. Agree on short-term expectations. What, if accomplished in the first 90 days would make the most impact for all concerned if completed? What would provide a quick win?
  3. Be a detective. Knowledge is power in the first 90 days. The quicker you learn what is really going on and how things really get done, the faster you can get started on the things that really matter. Identify these key stakeholders and interview them!

The bottom line is this. Don't wander through a role transition. Strategically plan the process as if you were planning a new business venture or product launch.  The product is you. The new venture is your impact. With a formal induction process you can achieve more with less stress, plus move your company forward in the process...a win-win for all concerned! What will you do today?

Stay tuned for some next steps in a successful role transition...they'll be all about YOU!



Still overwhelmed? Don't know where to start? Contact me today or click here for information on how to make a fast start in a new role. 

Hire 'em and Leave 'em: A Recipe for Failure

Think about the last time you took a new job or hired/promoted someone into a new management position. What was the experience like for you? Chances are the orientation process consisted of no more than completing some paperwork and taking an office tour of the most important spots in the building...the restroom, break room and the supply closet.

If you can relate to this scenario you are not alone. Most companies tend to hire new managers and quickly leave them to fend for themselves.

Most companies set up their new hires for failure rather than success.

Did you know that...

  • 46% of leaders in new roles will FAIL within 18 months?
  • 25% of top performers will likely leave your company within the next year.
  • Replacing employees costs YOUR company 3 times their annual salary?
  • On average it takes 6.2 months for a newly-positioned leader to become productive?
  • A primary reason leaders fail in their new roles is improper induction?

No one wants to feel the stress of failure and in our current economic times no one can afford to throw resources away on new leaders who might have succeeded had they been properly invested in from the beginning.

Successful leadership role transitions are possible with the right process. Stay tuned for an upcoming serious highlighting our accelerated role transition process and get helpful tips to get on track fast in a new role ... or to build a better foundation in your current role. 


Can't wait for the series? If you lack a formal induction process or you just got hired and were left to fend for yourself, click here for information on how you can reduce stress and still make an impact to get the results you desire.

Emotions and Productivity

You've just been unjustly insulted by a coworker in an email she copied to your boss and entire staff. The family member who always pushes your buttons just did it again. You keep thinking about the loved one you miss who is no longer in your life.

Which one of these scenarios triggers an emotional response in you? How might such a response affect your ability to carry out your responsibilities?

Emotions and experiences can be enablers or disablers.

In addition to how they affect the way we think and behave throughout the day, the physiological changes they produce in our bodies via stress hormones are real and help or hinder our performance. Scientific research suggests an average negative experience produces physiological effects that last for approximately four hours, during which time our optimal performance is compromised.

The good news is that we can minimize the effects of negative emotions by being aware of what triggers them and structuring our days to include good emotional experiences to counteract the bad. We don't need to let our emotions hijack us completely.

What activities, people or situations make you feel better? Feel worse? Make a list for each. Insert positive items into your daily routine when you need a mood lifter. Use the "bad" list to let you know when you need to schedule in an uplifter.

We have more control of our emotions than we think. Start being proactive today and watch your quality of life and your productivity improve.    

Thoughtful Thanks Giving

Have you ever noticed how some people only give others the types of gifts they enjoy without considering what the other person might prefer? Have you ever been the recipient of that BBQ grill for Christmas when all you really wanted was a gift certificate to your favorite day spa?

Just as holiday gifts need to be personalized in order to be received with enthusiasm and genuine gratitude, so must the gift of "Thanks" for a job well done. Have you ever thought of how you liked to be thanked or complimented? What was your response when you received a compliment that struck the wrong chord with you?

The next time you thank someone for a job well done, consider first what words they'd receive as praise,  rather than what you'd want to hear. Determine their behavioral style and phrase your compliment accordingly. 

For example, following are some typical styles with suggested compliments:

  • Dominant, goal-oriented "D" - Be specific by saying "You saw what needed to be done and did it."
  • Influential, social "I" - Praise them publicly and tell them, "You're amazing!"
  • Steady, supporting "S" - Quietly let them know how you appreciate their follow-through and perseverance.
  • Compliant, analytical "C" - Reinforce how their analytical ability caused you to avoid  future complications.

How might you change the way you thank the people in your personal or professional life?

This week, I'm challenging you to sincerely compliment 5 people for something they've done for you or your organization in the way they would want to be recognized. Perhaps they might just start thanking you.

Other DISC related posts:

Leadership and DISC: Who is the Best?

DISC Styles: Are you a Tortoise or a Hare?

The Dominant Director: Tony Allessandra Video



Note: If you want to dig deeper in your understanding of how to best communicate with others so you can increase your productivity, contact me for a free consultation today.  That's what I do.

Name and Face Your Fears

Fear comes to us in many shapes and sizes. Some manifestations of fear are more obvious, such as the fear of spiders, snakes or public speaking. Yet other forms of fear are more subtle, robbing us of our time and energy unbeknownst to us.  

Leaders are especially vulnerable to the effects of fear because they are on the front lines of the battle of change.

What robs you of your time and energy? What would your life be like if you spent less emotional energy on the things that trouble you? Today you can take a step forward in your effectiveness by identifying those fear factors in your life.  Take a thoughtful look at the following fears and consider what they might look like in your life:

  • Fear of success
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of criticism 
  • Fear of losing security
  • Fear of social rejection
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of embarrassment
  • Fear of being taken advantage of

Which of the above resonates most with you? Design an action step you can take each day for the next week to overcome that fear. Maybe you need to talk to yourself a little differently when you hear doubts surface in your mind.  Maybe you need to act as if you were totally accepted when you realize you are afraid of rejection.

Maybe you just need to look the spider right in its beady little eye and smash it.

Just do something. You will feel empowered when you do.  Then come back and share your success with us!  If you have an idea you'd like to share, leave a comment by clicking on "comments" below.  If you need some help designing action steps to overcome what's holding you back, contact me today.  That's what I do. Either way, I'd love to hear from you!

Authentic Leadership:Transformation in the Crucible

Crucible: A severe test or trial.

Normal human beings do not SEEK out trials and tribulations to insert themselves into in order to learn. We typically avoid these situations at all costs! When was the last time you scheduled a crisis into your calendar? Even though we tend to avoid them, we can learn the most through the crucibles in our lives if we take the time to objectively reflect.

Speaking of crucibles, Bill George states:

"By going through the process of reliving and rethinking your earlier experience, you can see it through a different lens. Whereas before you may have viewed yourself as a victim of life's injustices, now you can find the power in having had those experiences and recognize that they give you the passion to use your leadership to help others."

What crucible in your life comes to mind right now? Following are some questions* to help you glean the most from the experience:

  • WHAT happened? Describe the main events.
  • WHEN did you first become aware that something significant was taking place? Looking back, what did you miss seeing? What from this experience can you use to notice the "trouble" earlier next time?
  • HOW did your actions influence the outcome of this?
  • WHY did this touch you so deeply? What changes in attitudes or beliefs does this experience push you to consider?  

Write out the answers to these questions this month. Reflection brings transformation. In doing so you might just unlock the door to being the best you can be. 

*Source:Adapted from "Coaching Questions: A Coach's Guide to Powerful Asking Skills, Tony Stoltzfus

Learning From Our Stories

All of our life experiences, professional and personal, shape the way we lead and affect our potential.  The more we reflect on our stories and learn from them, the more authentic we become and the more effective we will be.  
In last week's post you were challenged to draw the path of your life and divide it into chapters.  Today, I encourage you to look at your story from satellite height, surveying the whole story of your life and leadership.  As you reflect on it, the origins of your purpose and motivations as a leader will emerge. 
Start by looking back at the chapters you identified from last week's exercise and take note of the people, events, and experiences that had the greatest impact on your life.  Then, look at the chapters individually and answer the following about each:

  • What did the experiences in this chapter make me believe?
  • The experiences in this chapter made me more or less ______________.
  • If I could go back, I would have more of _________ in this chapter.
  • How am I affected on a daily basis today by the events in this chapter?

When you finish these questions, examine your story as a whole.  Where do you first see your inspiration and passion for leadership appear? How have each developed over time?  What person and experience impacted you the most?  Where do you find the greatest fulfillment in leading? 
Questions. Questions. Questions.  I was told once to love the questions because it is in the search for answers that transformation occurs. Transformation leads to inspired leadership.  Only you have your answers.  Happy searching!  

What will you do with what you find?
Next in the series: Learning from our crucibles... 

Note: Exercise taken from Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide, by Bill George.

Humility and Greatness: Thoughtful Thursday

What comes to mind when asked to picture the perfect Level 5 leader? Charisma? Power? Intelligence? Honesty? Does humility come to your mind? It should, because according to one of the most notable business minds of our time, Jim, Collins, Level 5 leaders possess humility which sets them apart from the rest.

To dig further into this concept, today's Thoughtful Thursday quote comes from Jim Collins' Good to Great, p. 22.

Level 5 leaders are a study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless.


  • How might these dual traits can coexist in one person? What would that look like?
  • Why do you think it is so hard to be both great and humble?
  • How pure is your ambition? Is it first and foremost for your organization or for yourself?
  • What one thing might you do differently this week to become a Level 5 leader?

The Journey to Authentic Leadership: Examine Your Story

The difference with authentic leaders lies in the way they frame their stories.  Their life stories provide the context for their lives, and through them they find their passion and inspiration to to make an impact on the world. (Bill George, True North, p. 15)

Have you ever stopped to consider how your unique story has shaped and equipped you to impact those around you? No one has a story exactly the same as yours.  Our individual journeys, with their peaks and valleys, shape the way we live and lead. Both our personal and professional experiences develop our leadership gifts over time.

Each life experience teaches us about our passion to lead.

Today I'm going to share with you an exercise called the "Path of Life", that gave me tremendous insights into my own leadership style. Drawing the path of our lives enables us to examine the impact of our past upon our present and future. Are you ready to learn?

Take a piece of paper and start in the bottom left corner, labeling the starting point of the line "Birth".  Then draw the path of your life from there to the upper right corner.  Put some twists and turns on the page.  Be creative as you let your life story unfold before you.  Label the milestones - places you have lived, significant achievements, relationships, family, life-changing lessons learned... anything that is important to you.  Draw some pictures to represent the events on the timeline of your life.
When you are finished, look at your path and divide it into four or five chapters marked by significant events in your life.  Give each chapter a descriptive title and label the chapters on your path.  Your life story has made you into the person you are today. 

My life story has taught me to lead with more compassion and less judgment. What about yours? How can you better use it to impact your world tomorrow? Share with us in a comment by clicking the comment link below. 

How Self Aware Are You? -->Thoughtful Thursday

Leaders are at their best when they lead authentically and self-knowledge plays a significant role in leadership effectiveness. My favorite moments as an executive coach are those "Aha" moments when my clients realize that others see their behavior different than they do!

Today's Thoughtful Thursday quote to ponder comes from one of my favorite books on coaching leaders, "Coaching Leaders" by Daniel White, p. 109. Consider the following:

"Leaders with low self-awareness are limited to their instinctual reactions and to habitual, often unconscious, and possible ineffective patterns."


  • How aware are you of the way others view the world...and you? How do you know how aware you are?
  • Who is in your life who can give you objective feedback as to how you come across to the world?
  • When was the last time someone shared an unbiased perspective about you to you?
  • What ineffective pattern or instinctual reaction can you stop today?

Coaching increases self awareness and correction of those ineffective patterns.  Contact me today for a free consultation to discuss how assessments and coaching might increase your effectiveness!