Crain’s Detroit Business just reported that Soave Enterprises has hired former Taubman CFO, Lisa Payne to be chairman of the board at Soave and president of their real estate group. Tony Soave has no plan to retire as CEO and president, and Payne will be in charge of implementing a succession plan for the company and creating the right environment to move the company move forward while creating the right relationship with the next generation of the organization’s leadership, Soave’s two daughters.
Tall order, huh?
Longtime owners and CEOs of businesses have good intentions when they bring in a new leader from the outside, but what is the potential for failure? Studies show that nearly 40% of newly hired leaders fail within the first 18 months of being hired! Here are some reasons why.
The Owners: they don’t always let go of the reins. They want to, but intent and action are quite different, the coaching term for this is ‘espoused theory vs. theory in action.’ How will the current leaders of Soave know if their desire to let go of the reins is really happening? Who has permission to call them out when they aren’t letting go? Soave wants to work/manage less, but what exactly does that look like in practice?
The Employees: they don’t always accept the new boss. What are the implications of a new leader for the people who work at Soave? How is their world (culture) going to change now that there’s a new boss with a new set of priorities and unfamiliar leadership behaviors? What has Soave done to stimulate conversations around these questions? Here’s an interesting article about why employees sometimes reject the new boss: http://www.coachingtip.com/2010/11/why-employees-hate-their-new-boss.html#sthash.aglHbyyP.dpuf
The New Leader: They are faced with blending while leading…not a natural skill of forward-driving leaders. Payne held her last position for many years, so coming into this new culture will require her to adapt quickly. At Taubman, her success was built on her numerous accomplishments over many years, but initially, at least, her success at Soave will be built on her ability to assimilate who she is withwho they are. How will she stay aware of how she is behaving? Who will have permission to give her honest feedback about how she’s acting in the new environment? This article talks about executives whose behavior derailed their success at their new organization http://www.coachingtip.com/2010/11/where-are-they-now-without-executive-onboarding-coaching-.html
Successful organizations hire onboard coaches to help new leaders successfully assimilate. Soave has invested heavily by bringing on a strong leader like Lisa Payne, so how will they protect their investment? If Soave wants to “make this work,” like he says, I hope he included onboard coaching in Payne’s offer of employment.