Organizations are, and must be, constantly in transition. Periodically though, they find themselves facing more fundamental, strategic transitions. These include a turnaround, the startup, surviving an organization-wide crisis, exploring and executing a merger or reworking an outdated mission and strategy.
Surviving and prospering through such transitions requires a different set of skills than managing a stable organization. That’s where I come in.
Transition Leadership requires that we put the mission first, always first, building a renewed sense of teamwork around the values it implies. Second, out of the mission we build greater clarity—what does the mission require of us, how are we doing in meeting those requirements, how well do our strategies and tactics link to our mission?
Third, we commit ourselves to the highest standards of integrity—in intellect and in behavior. The growing rigor of this process pushes us, ultimately, to accountability—who must do what to advance the mission, to sharpen and reinforce our growing clarity? How do we set, judge and reinforce the integrity of our assessment and performance?
All of this, every element, requires that we listen, listen and listen some more, first to those we serve and then to other constituencies, engaging diverse perspectives and participants. It requires that we communicate with radical candor and transparency. It requires that we move both forcefully and experimentally. We move decisively, setting precise goals and strategies and evaluating our progress with great rigor always prepared to jettison ideas or strategies that aren’t working. And, it requires that we share and celebrate success.