Taking Charge Fast

Taking on a new role is challenging, but if the transition is mishandled, the leader may create problems that may be very difficult for him to address later on. The author identifies four key elements of a successful transition:

1. Craft a Learning Plan

In situations where it is possible, study in advance to become familiar with your new post before you arrive: learn the organization, customers, systems, and structures as well as the culture and politics.

If you are thrown in the deep end, there will be a lot to learn. Developing a systematic method to prioritize what knowledge is needed is key to learning it most effectively.

2. Promote Yourself

Especially in instances where you are promoted to a role to which your old job reports, you have to promote yourself mentally - step out of your old job (and shrug off its responsibilities) and take hold of the new one. Otehrwise, it'll drag you back down.

3. Minding Sacred Cows

Some sacred cows can be slaughtered, but most should be respected, at least during the period of your transition. You don't have the juice to challenge unwritten rules, mythology, informal networks, and other potential minefields. Tread lightly.

4. Building the Team

A task to attend to early is to evaluate the team you have inherited. Determine whether they have the skills they need to do the job (sometimes, they are just coasting) - however, the rule of thumb is to wait at least 90 days before handing anyone their hat, to make sure you have taken ample time and made a well-informed decision.