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All change: how to master critical transitions, fast


June 24, 2020

Time is everything in critical transitions. You need to accelerate business performance quickly and effectively, whether it’s a change of CEO, transformation of an underperforming business or an M&A. Success depends on having the right data and the ability to execute at speed.

Take an acquisition. Often the acquiring organisation knows little about the management team before completing the deal. After completion, they must swiftly onboard the new management, integrate the workforce and ensure the business continues to run smoothly. The focus then switches to improving business performance and delivering a healthy ROI.

Get the data, plan ahead

Hoxby’s approach will boost your performance over a shorter time-frame. It’s a proven model that can be applied to any critical transition.

But first there’s data: we’ll work with you to gather essential information rapidly about the business, its people and how they operate.

Armed with this data, you can move to the next stage – six steps that we know deliver results for organisations like yours.

Step 1: find out where you are

Use Hoxby’s online diagnostic tool to discover what’s working and what’s not. This allows you to take input from 100 people or more, locally or globally.

Impact: identify key issues and challenges, with a report generated and debriefed in as little as ten days.

Step 2: create a 90-day transition programme

Prepare senior leaders for the transition, including risk and cultural assessments, optimised leadership approach, strategic priorities and stakeholder management. Devise messaging that covers shared purpose, vision and calls to action.

Impact: start revving up performance acceleration.

Step 3 (25 days in): set the direction

Hold virtual workshops for the senior leadership team to tackle performance issues, define priorities and create a clear purpose and vision. They should also kick off priority strategic, operational and organisational plans, together with those for culture and working practices.

Impact: you will test senior leaders and ensure they embrace the company’s future commitment.

Step 4: execute the plan

Ensure senior leaders take ownership and execute at pace. This enables plans to run to time and builds in accountability for deliverables – who does what, when.

Impact: you will move faster, make better decisions, use resources efficiently and deliver ‘quick wins’ for momentum and confidence.

Step 5 (60 days in): adjust the organisation

Resolve any shortfalls. These could arise anywhere, from the leadership team to other critical areas such as sales. It’s brutal but vital.

Impact: you’ll speed up progress towards a high-performing senior leadership team and enterprise.

Step 6 (80 days in): check results, then improve things further

  • Refresh your performance diagnostic so that senior leadership and other critical teams can acknowledge improvements and immediately tackle emerging problems.
  • Tighten up ‘ways of working’ that affect people, plans and performance.
  • Evaluate how your organisation’s culture is developing and enable leaders to keep shaping it.

Impact: you’ll see sustainable results. These ‘best practices’ will become second nature to your organisation and continue to build performance.

Three ways to make transition work

  1. Start early. Support the senior leader from the outset. Build a strategic, well-planned programme. Most important, begin as you mean to go on.
  2. Engage the team. Be sure that the senior leadership team creates a new future together and is passionate about driving it. They must then inspire the whole workforce to deliver.
  3. Focus. To accelerate business performance, be unwavering but pragmatic. Hone the strategic, operational and organisational priorities and immediate wins that will secure transition success.

Let Hoxby support your critical transitions

Hoxby HR experts can help you rise to any business challenge with transition support. We partner our clients to accelerate performance through transitions such as CEO and executive team changes, M&As, strategic re-evaluation, transformation projects and the impact of Covid-19.

Find out more

Download details of our HR services, including organisational change.

For advice, including our free ‘how-to’ guide on virtual workshops, get in touch with us.

Tony Botterill is an accelerating leader, and a team and organisation performance consultant. He’s part of the Hoxby community.

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