Managing Transition

Topics: Management, Leadership, Board of directors Pages: 16 (4684 words) Published: February 19, 2010
Managing the Transition: Taking and Handing over the Stick

Micah Amukobole, CORAT Associate Consultant.


Transition from one leader or manager to the next, if handled well, reveals the strategic planning and maturity of an organisation. It provides an opportunity for reflection and renewal. If handled poorly, it can compromise a board, make a new leader’s job more difficult and alienate the staff and stakeholders. Mature organisations and mature leadership are characterised by smooth transitions.

The planning for the CEO transition gives a board an opportunity to prepare a graceful and honourable exit, a smooth transition, for the outgoing while ensuring a forward-looking, positive entry for the incoming new leader. Yet many boards do not have systems and guidelines to facilitate a transition process.

While it may be up to the CEO to develop individuals with leadership potential as part of a formal succession management process, handing over the reins to a new leader is a delicate balancing act. This potentially sensitive process has received far less attention than succession planning, yet is equally important for the continuity of an organisation mission and strategy. Smooth leadership transition gives credit to the board for good governance.

Transitioning into a new management position requires an intricate balancing act for the smooth integration of the new staff. It is daunting and intimidating for the new staff, often it determines welcome into the family of the organisation. When order is maintained the new leader is inspired and motivated to join the organisation with its culture. This paper seeks to make some suggestions, if applied, will make the transition period run more smoothly thus reducing the stressful anxiety that comes with a new job leave alone a new organisation.


When the Board approves the appointment of any staff, especially a new executive, a letter of offer should be written immediately. It may be necessary at this stage, for the candidate to have a second interview with the CEO or the Chairman of the Board to explain the offer and conditions of working with the organisation. It is assumed that the incoming executive had a positive interview and the candidate is looking forward to make a significant contribution to the success of the organisation. A letter of appointment should include such details as: the title, the responsibility of the position, to whom responsible to, commencing date, remuneration package and any special condition of the appointment. It may include attachments of the job description and expectations; an overview of the organisation to help the incoming executive start to understand the culture and working of the organisation; and general reports of the operation of the organisation. It is advisable to hold onto reports, manuals detailing policies and procedures in the organisation until an appropriate time during the induction.

The incoming executive is normally expected to formally accept the appointment in writing. In some cases it may be advisable to discuss any issues in the appointment letter before letter of acceptance.

Hiring is the first step of orientation. The process, if handled professionally, conveys the values, goals, and expectations of an organisation, and if not it sends negative sentiments to the incoming executive.

The Concept of Induction Training

Induction Training is absolutely vital for new starters. Good induction training ensures new executives are settled in quickly and happily to a productive role. Induction training is more than skills training. It's about the basics that seasoned employees all take for granted: working hours; where the notice-board is; general routines and the unspoken rules; the canteen; the dress code; and where the toilets are. An induction is not complete until the incoming understand the vision and mission of the organisation its goals,...

Bibliography: 1. Bergholz, Harvey, 2006, CEO Transitions: How to Smooth the Process.
2. Bridges, William, 1991, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, Addison-Wesley Publisher, Reading.
4. Collins, James, Porras, Jerry, and Collins, Harper, 1994, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, NYC.
6. Hinden, Denice, R., Tebbe, Don, Managing Executive Leadership Transitions in Nonprofits: Field-Tested Advice to Turn Leadership Change into a Pivotal Opportunity Journal article, The Public Manager, Vol. 32, 2003.
8. Schein, Edgar H., Bass, Jossey, 1997, Organizational Culture and Leadership, Publishers, San Francisco, 2ND Edition.
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