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Manufacturing Organization Had a Need for Speed to Onboard a New CEO

Need:

Quickly onboard a newly promoted CEO and provide him with insights to ensure a strong executive team.

Solution:

Customized onboarding program for the CEO. Team Asset Mosaic analysis to executive team alignment with business priorities. Executive coaching sessions and follow-up strategy.

Result:

CEO positioned to make successful transition into role, and executive team members were deployed to make the most of individual strengths.

The New CEO Needed to Be Set Up for Success—Fast!

In today’s world of high-speed change, leaders must react and act far more quickly than ever before—especially executives, who must lead rapid organizational responses to ever-changing business situations in order to succeed.

One large manufacturing corporation faced this situation when the organization’s long-time and beloved CEO retired, turning the reins over to his capable and experienced COO. Although the COO was a bright, high-performing leader, his disposition was more quiet and inward, as opposed to the warm, gregarious, outgoing personality of the previous CEO. The new CEO was simply not well-known to many in the organization, prompting much skepticism about his ability to rise to the CEO challenge, particularly among the senior team.

It’s not that the senior team lacked trust in the new CEO—they knew he was strategic, had excellent judgment, and had achieved much success in his previous COO role, but his personal tendencies, namely his occasionally terse nature and direct, fact-based leadership style, caused many within the senior leadership team to feel concerned about his ability to cultivate a healthy culture.

To alleviate these concerns, as well as to bring the new CEO up to speed quickly, the organization partnered with DDI to provide a customized onboarding program for the CEO. The process began with individual and team assessment to help the CEO quickly gain a deeper familiarity with his senior team’s capabilities and group dynamics. As the CEO now had more accurate insights about his team, the DDI coach then introduced tactics for the CEO to rapidly gain perspective on the new and different aspects of the CEO role itself and generate new leadership actions that would help him rapidly adjust his approaches to suit the unique nature of his new role.

Ensuring Team Alignment and a Smooth Transition

Additionally, DDI worked with the new CEO to perform a Team Asset Mosaic—a rapid, facilitated analysis of the senior team using research-based criteria to evaluate the team’s primary assets and vulnerabilities, ensure alignment of accountabilities, and understand what new or different support the team may need moving forward under new leadership.

With a better understanding of the senior team’s strengths and development areas, the CEO then focused his efforts on better understanding his new role and his own development opportunities. With DDI by his side, the new CEO entered a process to help him establish an integrated understanding of key business priorities, the relationship his role has to these strategic goals, and the impact his personal attributes had on his ability to execute the duties of the role. The result was the new CEO’s development opportunities prioritized into a list of immediate actions to take to maximize both business impact and personal leadership growth.

To help the new CEO implement these actions, assess progress, and discuss real-time role challenges and any team barriers, DDI coaching sessions provided practical structure for measuring progress, and included a follow-up strategy that was aligned to specific and timely growth objectives and business outcomes.

Enhanced Self-Insight and Reduced Skepticism

The CEO onboarding process catalyzed a rapid and successful transition, and perhaps most importantly, a new-found awareness of how he could make slight changes in his interactions with others to calm the skepticism surrounding his leadership. As a logical, “no-nonsense,” and fact-based leader by nature, he was initially unable to see how small tweaks to his leadership style—such as asking questions about personal concerns or delving patiently into others’ worries about the future—could quickly and profoundly impact the engagement of the senior team and beyond. These modest adjustments allowed him to accentuate his authentic leadership style, while avoiding habits that might otherwise distract those he was leading.

In a matter of months, the new CEO gained the insight to remain aware of how to make small changes in his own behavior to create positive changes in the business. He was equipped with strategies to disarm others’ concerns about his leadership and learned tactics to help him be more transparent about his thought processes. While the need for these changes was not self-evident when he took on the role, he quickly became open to making them as he and his coach shaped the business and personal case for change.

While troubled CEO transitions have the power to stagger even the strongest organizations, this manufacturing company witnessed a rapid and successful CEO transition that helped sustain strong business results and cultural health. The senior team moved ahead with enhanced alignment, performance, and engagement, and a CEO who established a fresh understanding of his role, his team, and how to use that insight to maximize business impact.

Results:

In partnership with DDI to rapidly and successfully onboard its new CEO, this organization was able to:

  • Help its new CEO quickly gain a deeper familiarity with his senior team’s capabilities and group dynamics.
  • Give its new CEO a prioritized list of development opportunities, including the immediate actions to take to maximize both business impact and personal leadership growth.
  • Equip the new CEO with insight and tactics to make small changes in his behavior to create positive changes in the business.
Talk to an Expert: Manufacturing Organization Had a Need for Speed to Onboard a New CEO
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