Situation:
A financial services company had recruited a new EVP from outside the company.  He had extensive industry experience and had impressed everyone involved in the recruiting process.  The CEO expected him to ramp up quickly and to lead his division to rapid growth through innovation and superb execution.

Although the new EVP was already a seasoned leader, the CEO had some concerns about helping him to integrate successfully.  He was transferring from a different part of the United States, so he needed to learn the cultural norms of his new community as well as the company’s culture.  The team he would be leading was composed of very senior, long-term employees of the company, one of whom had applied for the EVP job.  Economic indicators suggested that the company was entering a time of challenge and uncertainty.  The CEO knew the EVP’s integration could be accelerated with the help of a structured program of new leader integration, and that integration is not just a 90-day process, but takes a full year.

Action:
A consultant from Gail Golden Consulting was retained to work with the EVP through his first year.  Together with the CEO, she designed a program with the following elements:

  • Initial individual assessment of the EVP and review of previous assessments
  • Stakeholder meetings with eight other executives to learn about their first impressions of the new EVP and how they would measure his success
  • Facilitation of a meeting with the EVP and his reports so they could ask questions and get to know him better
  • Written and verbal feedback to the EVP, shared with the CEO in a 3-way meeting
  • Creation of 90-day development plan, to be updated each quarter
  • Individual coaching sessions for twelve months
  • Quarterly check-ins with the EVP and the CEO

Outcome:
During the EVP’s first year, the recession of 2008-09 hit.  Although the business results that year were down because of the economic climate, the new EVP did a remarkable job of adapting quickly, executing flawlessly, and helping his team to maintain their morale through a very difficult time.  He used his coach to help him assimilate rapidly into the company culture and to learn how to get things done in the new setting.  At the end of the year, he had earned the respect and loyalty of his colleagues.  He was still in his role several years later and was considered to be one of the most talented senior leaders in the company.

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