Greensilkmuse's Blog

Transformation – Stage 1

Posted in Discovery,Problem solving by greensilkmuse on March 12, 2010

I walked into her office and, while she was smiling and welcoming, what was really going on for her was this:  


What am I going to do?

A new CEO had recently come on board.  His expectations of her function were very different from that of his predecessor. She needed to quickly understand his perspective and expectations and figure out how to provide new and different services.

She was fairly new at the company and to this industry and, while she was hired for her experience and expertise, that decision was based on a different set of needs.  She was just starting to hit her stride when this happened and it was destabilizing.  It wasn’t just a matter of figuring out what this new CEO needed and expected, it was also a matter of figuring out whether she had the resources needed to deliver. She knew the capabilities and limitations of her team and there where were definitely weaknesses in her group that needed to be addressed. 

For the most part, she inherited the staff working for her.  There were some members who she kept on, against her better judgement,  at the advice of other senior managers in the organization.  They presented a challenge to her leadership and could make things even more difficult for her with the new CEO.  She knew that her current management team might not be part of the team she needed, but she had to work with them to define a new direction for her group and then figure out how get there.  She was really anxious about it.  She knew she was going to have to bring in new leadership, but she had to first see whether the people she had could step up or not.   This was a chance to see whether team members could build a new and cutting edge function. At a minimum, she needed them to keep things running while she worked on redefining the function’s remit.

What she didn’t have, was time.  The new CEO was not going to be patient and she needed to demonstrate to him that she could deliver what he needed.  Step 1:  “Breathe”

Team deliberations

We set about the task of rethinking the function.  Through working sessions, the management team created a picture of the future organization and defined the capabilities that were needed. This included figuring out what they didn’t know and reaching out to key stakeholders to get the information they needed to ensure that they were on the right track.  They took a hard look at the group’s current capabilities to decide what to retain, what to eliminate, and to identify gaps to fill.   Step 2:  “Listen”

That was the easy part.  Stay tuned for part 2.