Grandma’s wisdom still amazes me. Although she never worked in a corporate environment, she was so wise in her understanding of human dynamics. As I reflect on my retirement last year, and read recent retirement announcements from the same employer, I hear Grandma’s voice saying “Baby, remember, new brooms sweep clean”. Hers was a message about relationships, new beginnings, trust, old shoes getting new workouts, interpersonal comfort levels, and yes, cronyism. She coupled her message with a well-known biblical reference – “TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON”. She wanted me to be prepared for times when relationships came to an end; prepared for times when I might not be the rising star. She wanted me to understand EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO ME IS NOT ABOUT ME. Was she wise or what?!!!
Whenever there are top leadership changes within organizations, you can count on changes at the next level, and most likely one or two levels beneath that. LEADERS, ESPECIALLY THOSE ASSUMING HIGH PROFILE, TOP LEADERSHIP ROLES, SET OUT TO MAKE THEIR MARK. They have an urgent need to surround themselves with people THEY assess most capable of achieving THEIR agenda. Although frequently wrapped in the language of professional “talent reviews”, these “assessments” are not necessarily based on objective criteria. Haven’t you heard of new leaders brining in whole new leadership teams? Think about all sectors – a new president of a country, a new CEO of a company, a new head of a non-profit organization, or even a new minister of a church. Don’t stop with top leaders. What about the new supervisor who hires someone from the outside instead of using existing talent? The desires of leaders to surround themselves with people THEY BELIEVE most capable of contributing to THEIR SUCCESS is actually quite normal. I know I had the same desires as I assumed various leadership roles.
Normal or not, if the new broom is sweeping in your direction, it can take a moment or two to rationally assess what is happening. NEW BROOMS DO NOT SWEEP OUT ONLY POOR PERFORMERS. Some individuals who were deemed top performers under previous leadership may not make the cut during periods of significant change.
- ASSUME ALL CHANGE WILL IMPACT YOU. Stay plugged in to what is happening at work. Stay alert! If there is significant change happening in the organization, especially with top leadership, get ready for something to happen in your world, regardless of your level in the organization.
- DEVELOP AN EXIT STRATEGY WHEN YOUR STAR IS RISING. This is the best time to build networks outside the organization; and begin to develop options and alternatives to your current employment. You may not need to execute your exit strategy, but you certainly need to have one.
- REMEMBER, JUST BECAUSE IT IS HAPPENING TO YOU, IT MAY NOT BE ABOUT YOU. New brooms sweep clean!
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