Why do executives, managers, and professionals either derail or flounder and then get shunted off to roles that are out of the mainstream? Typically it’s because they have a psychological blind spot that is all too visible to others.
Research studies have pegged failure rates for senior executives at up to 33 percent.
There’s a good chance that the descriptions below of potential derailers will remind you of some key people in your organization:
He lacks effective interpersonal skills. He’s –
- Insensitive (“He’s too abrasive”)
- Overambitious (“He batters people with his competitiveness; he needs to be seen as powerful”)
- Isolated (“He’s a perfectionist and seems to do everything his own way”)
- Volatile (“He comes apart at the seams when under fire”)
She has difficulty making tactical shifts. She is –
- Mired in detail; thrown by change and innovation; too cautious; action-averse.
- Unable to adapt to those who have different styles.
- Conflict-averse; unable to harness conflict constructively, as a creative medium for change; a poor negotiator.
- Over-reliant on one skill, on natural talent, or on just raw energy.
- Rigid in response to most situations; for example, blazingly decisive but without regard for overall organizational strategy.
He lacks follow-through. He –
- Makes a big splash at the front end of a project, then moves on, leaving a trail of loose ends.
- Leaves people hanging because of unmet promises and commitments; not fully accountable.
- Exit costs
- Recruiting, hiring, and restart costs
- Lost training and development costs
- Cascade effect of multiple position shuffles
- Opportunity costs, disruption, down time, and lowered morale of the team
- Disputed termination litigation
- The company is spared the organizational disruption and corporate expense (frequently exceeding $100K) that inevitably occur with the termination of a key employee.
- The company is protected from the loss of the person’s accumulated industry knowledge, experience, and competitive information.
- The turnaround program offers a potent management option for handling a potentially unpleasant and difficult dilemma.
- The turnaround option brings objectivity and behavioral science to bear on conflict and, thereby, gives the organization and its people a greater sense of mastery and less apprehension about handling difficult human problems.
- It equips the organization with an effective tool for retaining its human resources, an increasingly critical strategy in an age of a shrinking human resource pool.
- Expert software systems that enhance psychological testing and assessment
- Computerized 360° technology
- Keen diagnostic skills
- Advanced rapport-building methods
- Accelerated development strategies
- Motivating and creating true behavioral change
Turnaround Program: Four Key Steps
- Conduct a series of life-career interviews with the candidate, focusing on:
- personal and work history
- interpersonal experiences
- attitudes, values, and interests
- Assess the candidate, using an array of business-based psychological inventories and 360° tools, most of which are computer analyzed.
- Integrate performance management data into the assessment. Forge a consensus on the problem areas and the turnaround objectives.
- Deliver an in-depth, confidential debrief of all assessment findings.
- Identify the candidate’s key strengths and areas in need of development. Highlight limiting tendencies and origins of the derailment problem.
- Clarify inner motivators for change and inner resistances to it. Harness the former and neutralize the latter. Explicitly specify WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) and WIIFOrg. (What’s in it for the organization?)
- Synthesize findings into a Blueprint for Action
- Detail the specific behavioral changes required – precisely what does the candidate need to continue, start, and stop doing? Resources: computerized asessment reports and 90-plus activities for development-in-place (i.e., activities that do not require a job change).
- Identify all the benefits that will accrue to one self and to the organization once the the change objectives are achieved.
- Similarly, identify all potential impediments that could hinder the turnaround effort – inner, interpersonal, and organizational.
- Specify the action steps required to achieve the prescribed changes.
- Enlist the involvement of others. Turnarounds require support from others, playing an array of roles: coach, mentor, colleague, friend, role model, protégé, advocate. and advocate. Change requires change partners.
- Establish time frames and metrics, against which progress is measured.
- Acknowledge and reciprocate with those who gave feedback to the candidate. Enlist one or some as change partners.
- Debrief candidate’s manager and involve them in the Blueprint for Action.
- Begin action experiments during real-time, day-to-day work life, then debrief and refine with coach.
- Adopt high-impact behavioral change techniques.
- Measure progress against plan. Design simple and practical feedback loops into work routine.