Challenge Your Thinking

Super Worker to Leader - How much are these internal transitions costing your Company?

No matter what terminology a company or organization uses, when they promote from within, it typically involves a "Super Worker" moving from individual contributor to leader with a title change and an expectation of performance. Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of metamorphic experience a Super Worker promoted on Friday goes through over a weekend to return Monday morning prepared to be a leader of people?

You might think of it as "The Weekend Miracle"

Webster defines a miracle as an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws and is hence thought to be due to super natural causes. This practice touches upon the supernatural when you consider that almost all of these promotions or transitions require hot landings where the new leader is expected to hit the ground running. The contradiction is, an average of 40% of new leaders going into starting roles fail within 18 months. Studies done between 1998 and 2005 by the Center for Creative Leadership, Right Management, Leadership I.Q. and Top Grading's Brad Smart confirm these findings.

Depending on your perspective, you may think that poor hiring practices and undeserved promotions are the primary reasons for these failed transitions. There is no doubt organizations today have to be more deliberate in their hiring practices to compete for and attract the best talent for their organizations. However, considering the percentage of transitions that fail, the number is much too high not to be understood as a development challenge. While failed transitions and turnover are costly to organizations, you can't underestimate the impact on the most talented performers who lose trust in leadership and begin to emotionally separate from the company. The price tag associated with turnover varies by position and industry, however it generally includes the cost of recruitment, training, lost productivity, lost sales and new hire costs.

The following sources offer a rule of thumb calculation based on annual salary:

  • U.S. Department of Labor

I was referred to Norman Gauthier in 1997 by my manager who was also a client of his. I had recently taken a challenging new position within a rapidly growing financial services company. In our first meeting I was amazed at how quickly Norm was able to identify certain behaviors and habits that were impeding success in my new role. We met on several occasions afterwards, following up on and tuning my professional development plan. I began to see results almost immediately, and today look back on this as a soul searching experience that helped charge my career for the next decade. I thoroughly enjoyed these meetings as well, and I know that many of my colleagues in the organization were also benefiting from Norm’s coaching.

I highly recommend Norm to organizations and professionals looking to maximize their potential and who are open to change and having an honest look at themselves. Over the last decade I have kept in touch with Norm. Over time I have observed how he is particularly in tune with how The Organization has evolved amid technological and other changes. He is also genuinely interested in my progress and seeing that I’m maintaining my edge. Whenever we get together, I always learn something new that helps me.

Dan Doherty,
Technical Director Software Development

Executive Coaching & Consulting - Boston, MA

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