Below are five steps to take to help start you off on the right foot when taking a management position in a new organization.
1. Observe the Organization. Take time to understand the processes and most importantly the people. When you are new to the organization or even a new position in the same organization, it is very tempting to start changing things to the way you like them or to how you think they will be better. A better thing to do is to observe how things run. Then change them if they are inefficient or if they are not working. Employees hate to change anything even if it is better just to please the new boss! People dislike change in general, so making the change about you is not a good idea.
2. Determine the Culture. This step is critical to understanding how to reinforce or alter the culture to align it with the strategic plans you will create in the next step. If you are lucky enough to walk into a new organization with an exemplary culture, then all you need to do is to figure out how to reinforce those behaviors that drive the current culture. If the culture is less than desirable, then you have work to do. Get your team together to decide the culture you desire. Set the example of the behaviors you know will affect the culture. Make sure all policies support the culture.
3. Align the Organization: Align your department or section’s goals with the organization’s vision and mission. If your organization does not have vision and mission statements and you are in a leadership position now is the time to create them. If you are not at that level of management, lobby your leaders to develop them. Vision and Mission statements are vital to ensuring the rest of the organization is working towards the same goals. If you can’t convince them to create them for the organization, then create them for the piece you have control over and move on. Hopefully, by doing so, you will inspire those above you to follow your lead. That is what leadership is all about.
4. Pick the Proper Metrics: Make sure the metrics you measure are the ones that contribute to the primary purpose of the organization. Perhaps make the tough decision to categorize the measurable activities to know what you have to do well with and what may be category four of the organization. Some things are vital, but not measurable. Morale and engagement are two examples. Although not measurable in the strict sense of the word, there are ways to get a pulse for them. Surveys, observation, and asking the employees will give you a good sense of the organization in that respect.
5. Deliberately Lead the Organization: Deliberately leading an organization means having a purpose in your daily activities. Being placed in a management position means you are trusted to make good decisions. Have plans to reach goals and share them with your subordinates. Seek their opinions and implement their ideas to help achieve the goals. Deliberately develop your employees. This step is crucial, even if the development is outside of your organization’s lane. See my article on Deliberate Leadership here.
If you follow these five steps, you will be in an excellent position to create success for your organization and the people that work for you!