Jan 09, 2012 | Post by: Vikki Pachera Comments Off on Changes at the Helm

Changes at the Helm

When management makes top level changes, what does that mean for your job and how to set yourself up for success.

There’s no question that the average CEO tenure is shortening.  Just this year we’ve seen some pretty big changes.

It generally goes something like this…  You are getting ready for work and out of the blue on news radio, you hear the announcer say that your company just sacked the CEO.  You jump on the internet, verify, and then high tail it into work.  There, people are in the hallways, at the barista, and in the elevator mingling and gossiping about who, when, where and why.  Perhaps you have an exciting role to play in Finance, PR or Sales – informing and reassuring press, analysts, partners and customers that all will be fine.

And, generally, all will be fine.  For the short term.

But it’s worth taking your own inventory of what it all means.  Probably most important in the short term are the political ramifications.  Was your boss a ‘class favorite’ of the old CEO?  Did he or she lose or gain power with the exit?  Who was on the outs that may now be making a power grab?

And once the new CEO is named, think about the strategic possibilities.  Generally boards bring in CEOs to follow a certain agenda—maybe exit a market, make bigger, faster changes, or perhaps just steady the ship.

And by the way, I’ve often found all this brainstorming and scenario planning best done over a beer with two or three of the smartest colleagues you know.

The change may have been a surprise, but was it really?   An enterprise software-centric CEO chooses to jettison a commoditized hardware-oriented business? A young founder returns to make big, bold, industry shaking moves?

When I listen to people talk about new executive management, the ones who formed their own opinions – worried in a good way about the ramifications and possibilities – always fared better, at least emotionally and often professionally, than those who blindly drank the new leader’s Kool-Aid.  Although great rock and roll, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ is very rarely true!

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