Top 9 areas of breakdown during changes in leadership

Remember the earlier post by Business Excelerated’s Amanda HarNess about the connection between trust and leadership? If not, go back and read it. Beyond lack of trust, there are other areas where leadership breaks down. Amanda gives us questions to consider whenever leadership is changing for an organization. And, unprodded by me, she recommends building a strategic plan to help guide everyone through. We all know how much I love a strategic plan.

Top 9 areas of breakdown during changes in leadership

There’s a whole hooplah of issues that arise when changes occur in leadership. This can be situations such as big overhauls (someone quits, is fired, or retires; someone is promoted or onboarded) to combining leadership (merger or acquisition, bringing on a business partner, succession in generational ownership).

Changes in leadership are never just easy, but creating a process and plan will make transitions more smooth or easier.

Part of creating a plan and a process is asking the right questions. Here are the top 9 sets of questions (areas for breakdown) that need to be addressed when changes occur in leadership.

  1. ORG STRUCTURE: Who is in charge? Is there a new hierarchy or organizational structure? Was someone demoted in order for these changes to happen?
  2. DECISION MAKING: Who has the last say for large decisions? Who can make smaller daily decisions? Who is going to make the decision for who gets to make the final decisions from now on?
  3. RESPONSIBILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY: Who is accountable for what? Who is responsible for who? Where do people go to ask questions (and which kind)?
  4. JOB SECURITY: Has someone become redundant? Does that mean there will be blood spilled (competition) in deciding who will stay and who will go? Is everyone’s job still secure?
  5. ALIGNMENT: Do you truly have aligned visions and goals? Does that include everyone feeling secure in their value and future (leaders and teams alike)? Is anyone at the organization no longer a good fit?
  6. STRATEGY: Are you making decisions in the right order? What are the details for the long-term as well as the near-term? How will you know what is (and is not) working?
  7. FORWARD PROGRESS: Are you making decisions or agreements (there’s a difference)? Are there any top-down bottlenecks now? Will any of the answers to those two questions lead to things coming to a standstill?
  8. COMMUNICATION: How will changes and transitions (decisions and information) be disseminated accurately and timely? Who will communicate visions and goals, and the roles everyone plays in that? Who will receive information and who will deliver information?
  9. PEOPLE MANAGEMENT: How are you checking-in regarding employee fears or concerns during this time? What general questions do people have? Are there suggestions employees have based on their past/daily experiences?

One of the best solutions to avoid problems in leadership transitions is to ask these questions early and throughout the process. That will allow you to get in true alignment on strategic goals and future visions. That will allow you to make sure that leaders feel confident and capable in their new positions. That will allow you to support your people, and grow the organization faster and easier.

Many organizations will be making leadership changes and transitions at the start of the new year in 2023. Have you done your Strategic Planning and asked these questions to ensure you grow faster and easier next year?