Category Archives: Executive Transition

Posts in this category relate to best practices and lessons learned when a senior executive transitions into a new leadership role. Posts are address perspective of entering executive, her/his boss, and her/his direct reports.

Leader Exit

At an as yet unspecified time in the near future, the revered leader of a high-functioning team must exit, due to age, health, opportunity, or some other compelling reason.

The way the team sees it, the exiting leader must bring in a new leader or anoint someone from within, though no team member is clearly the one to take the reins in the eyes of the others. The team is anxious and wants to know what steps will be taken when to secure a new leader. Continue reading Leader Exit

Equity Rules

One of the hardest things for an owner/founder/operator to do is motivate others to perform and grow to their full potential. Watch how the  pride and endurance of a race horse transforms a struggling team into winners in this inspiring scene from Seabiscuit.

Movie rights provided by moviecomm.com.
Click to see a short inspiring clip from Seabiscuit.

Equity models are strategic because: Who gets What” defines “Who You Are!”  That is, the way owners share value with those who create it has a profound impact on the firm and the owners’ ability to attract, retain, and reward senior talent.

In his white paper, Equity Rules: Shaping powerful equity models via Sell.Pay.Convey, Mark Bronfman outlines the rules for using equity to secure a strategic advantage. His points are especially relevant to talent-driven ventures.

Private companies often use a variety of innovative tools, individually or in combination, to navigate and conquer major changes brought on by the urgent concerns of affordability, competency, and succession or “equity inflection points”. Continue reading Equity Rules

A Blueprint for Entering CEOs

CEO transitions into organizations are not easy. How long CEOs last and the frequency with which their own, and their Board’s, expectations are met have been studied in academia and well reported in the media. The results are stunning.

Two out of five incoming CEOs fail to meet their objectives in the first 18 months. Even those who make it past 18 months now have an average tenure of 7.6 years, down from 9.5 in 1995. The outlook is even bleaker for outside CEO hires, who take twice as long to ramp up as those promoted from within. Only one in five CEOs hired from outside are considered high performers at the end of their first year by their boards and nearly half leave within 18 months (reference: Harvard Business Review, 2014).

CEO failure may have less to do with competence, knowledge, or experience than with how CEO transitions are orchestrated and whether key support steps are missed. While not a guarantee, a programmatic approach to new executive transition can increase the odds and shorten the time-frame in which success is likely to be achieved.

Four goals, detailed in a previous IntelliVen post, guide the approach. Though they are simple to understand, the goals are not easy to achieve. Expert third-party facilitation, an authorizing environment committed to success, and previous experience, diligence, and focus go a long way towards improving the odds. Continue reading A Blueprint for Entering CEOs

Paying Fair: Four paths to fair pay and succession for private venture executives.

Synthetic Equity Cover - Paths to fair pay and successionBackground

Public company equity-based pay practices, such as stock, restricted stock, and employee stock options are often a poor fit for private companies committed to reward leaders for performance and growth and to motivate leadership and capital succession.

Equity based programs that make sense and work well in a public company come with many ills for private companies: they can be costly, tax-inefficient, static, ineffective, and sometimes downright unfair. In the worst case, equity pay practices can derail the owners’ plans for growth and succession.

Dynamic synthetic equity presents a more tailored solution for private companies interested in leadership and capital succession. Restricted stock and employee stock options often distort outcomes for private companies. Consider that:

  • The underlying stock price in a private company gyrates as owners enter and exit from, for example, a living or a death buyout or even a recapitalization. Stock price can jump 50% – unjustly rewarding the owners of true equity awards.

Continue reading Paying Fair: Four paths to fair pay and succession for private venture executives.

3 Truths and 6 Power Skills to Master Organization Politics

Organization Politics GroupOrganization politics make a lot of people uncomfortable. The untrained hope is that if politics are ignored, and if a job is done well, then well-earned rewards will come. Things rarely play out that way.

Organization politics is defined as anything done at work to increase the odds of success that has nothing at all to do with the work itself. Master executive coach and workplace psychologist, Dr. Dory Hollander, presents three unassailable truths about how things work in organizations and Six Power Skills for mastering the art of career enhancement.

Unassailable Truths

Truth 1 — There is Insider-Outsider Sorting

  • All organizations continuously sort people into insiders or outsiders.
  • There are things that distinguish insiders from outsiders among various stakeholder groups.
  • Insider/outsider status is subject to change.
  • Being an insider in one group is no guarantee of being an insider in another.
  • Leaders can help newcomers transition to insiders or let them struggle. The former makes more sense

Truth 2 –There is Clashing of Self-Interests among Stakeholders

  • Clashes between people and groups with differing self-interests are normal; not nutty.
  • It is best to spot and manage inevitable stakeholder conflicts, clashes and fallout; avoiding them is rarely wise.
  • A thick skin and solid negotiation skills put a leader, or anyone else for that matter, in position to address emerging conflicts with confidence.

Truth 3 — There are Hidden Alliances

  • Co-workers, friends and even enemies will bond together in hidden alliances to win resources, rewards, and advantages.
  • Staying in touch with what is going on in the trenches to learn where these alliances are helps a leader avoid being blindsided.
  • Hidden alliances are revealed through frequent communication with diverse groups, aggressive relationship management, and strategic stakeholder interventions.

Power Skills

In light of these three truths Six Power Skills help leaders, and everyone else, to be politically savvy and to master the art of career enhancement:

Power Skill 1 — Become an Insider

Continue reading 3 Truths and 6 Power Skills to Master Organization Politics