(Podcast) Meet and manage your new team | Deloitte Insights
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How much energy are they taking away from the rest of the organization?
It's important for you to determine that. We often find energy is something that people don't pay enough attention to. But often you say, I need to energize the team. I need to get this team to have the energy to do certain things, and organizationally it's not often attended to or studied. So that would be one question I might ask.
Let me stop you there for a second, because I would love to have you explain what you mean by energy. Energy can mean different things to different people, and sometimes it's, there's not enough fun in our workplace. Sometimes it's, you know, there's not enough intellectual stimulation. What does energy mean to you? Energy means when a person walks into the room to visit, I can either feel my energy [drop] to my toes, or I feel a sense of elevation and delight in seeing them, knowing that they're going to spark my curiosity.
They're going to bring new ideas. They're going to bring a positive attitude that is going to help us accomplish that goal. We all have, sometimes in our organization, somebody who's like an Eeyore that drains energy. And then we have those who you just know, when you are around them, you yourself feel a sense of elevation and a joy to get things done. Is there any risk that that energy lens is going to disadvantage people who might be naturally very introverted and perhaps not exude in the same way as someone who's more effusive?
Because the question that I care about [is], is the person a drain on the energy, more than, are they in the neutral zone, or are they positive in energy?
Those who are positive in energy are great, but even those who are introverted and who are more even-keel can be very great. The real challenge and the question that I focus on on the energy side is: Is somebody constantly demanding attention, constantly not completing things, constantly requiring permissions, constantly complaining about their pay, [and so on]?
What are the things that are draining of energy rather than even-keel and giving of energy? One of the questions you have [that] I really love: Who would you take with you if you left tomorrow? If you're taking your dream team away with you, who is that? That question is very valuable because what it does is it helps you identify high potentials and stars in the leadership team. So what we do is we pass on confidence, energy, who's a good brand ambassador from your team to your constituencies and your clients.
If there's a group of people who are particularly effective at that, you can often utilize that knowledge to give them initiatives that expand your brand in the organization.
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There are questions around [if there are] flight risks or retirement risks in the organization. Who might retire within the next two years? Who might be particularly prone to be a flight risk in the organization? And what are you going to do if they do take flight? Is there a succession plan around those individuals, or is there a plan that you have to develop the next generation?
When you work with executives, do they generally give you feedback that their new company has a very clearly defined succession plan, or is that often one of those things, sort of like performance reviews, that sometimes just aren't there?
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Probably about 40 percent has a well-defined succession plan. But I often say that succession plan is secondary to a progression plan. We've done surveys of finance professionals. One of the top reasons why finance professionals leave their organization is because they don't feel there are progression opportunities sufficiently in front and ahead of them.
So [it] is critical for an incoming leader, especially with high-potential performers, to think about what are the individual development plans for those individuals in the organization. How can they broaden their skills, deepen their skills, what roles can they advance to?
And do they have a sense of the roles they can advance to so that they're motivated to stay engaged with the organization and sort of consider other alternatives? OK, so you've now assessed your direct reports and maybe some of the key players under them. What do you do next? Then you say, you've identified maybe the problem, so you've got to deal with those team members.
How do you address the idea of replacing problematic team members? There are a couple of different things. When I said I can assess confidence by skill, by execution, and by behavior and judgment, [if] it's a skill deficit, I've got to look at them and say, can I train them up?
Is there a particular training program that I can send them to? Can I get somebody else in the organization who has that expertise to impart that expertise to the individual who needs the training? Training is relatively straightforward, and skill gaps can usually be dealt with some kind of training program.
They may be brilliant in technical terms, but they somehow fail to execute. Is that a project management skill that is lacking, or is there something where they're doing so many different things that they cannot take one more thing on? Is their workload out of balance?
So as a leader, you have to think, what do I need to do to make that person successful in that role? Sometimes it's complementing a very technically skilled person with project management support that may reside with another person. The third kind of intervention around broken glass and behavioral issues is usually coaching. As an executive, you may have a brilliant tax person or a brilliant treasury person or controller, and they're very skilled. But if they leave broken glass, then you've got to decide how you coach them.
What I recommend is to try get a professional coach to do that because your time as a senior executive is exceptionally valuable, and, in some ways, outsourcing coaching is probably the most effective use of your time.
So those three interventions deal with folks you may have less confidence in. If you have a problem person, and they are not responding to their interventions, then one of the critical things for you to do is really time-box your period of intervention and your period of assessment.
Here's how I look at many executives coming into a new role. The average timeframe for senior executives is about five years in a role. If your team is not performing by the end of the first year at the level that you need to them to perform to accomplish your goals and the organization's goals, it's probably hurting your brand and the organization. But even worse, there's a huge opportunity cost of your time by them not getting the job done with you and on your behalf.
You cannot waste more than the first year in getting the right people into the right seats, except in rare conditions, because most of the time you're brought in to drive change or performance improvement, and if you don't have the right people to help you drive and deliver that by the end of the first year, it hampers you and hampers your delivery of performance. One of the challenges that I've encountered in my career as a manager is that I've taken a position, and there were employees that had maybe significant problems to be dealt with, and there just wasn't enough documentation to deal with it in a short span of time because of a previous manager, or there wasn't a written policy in place to address something that I might have considered very basic.
So I guess you also have to certainly put on that list very early in the process, [seeing] what kind of internal policies and procedures, almost doing an audit of that information, to see what tools you have. First of all, you have to partner with your HR team and professionals very early on. Make the quick assessments, even if it's the red, yellow, greens, and sit down with HR and say, I have a talent agenda where I need to get my team to the performance levels that we need to go forward to succeed.
Now let's say you have to replace people. Obviously, there'll be a process. Usually there's a performance improvement plan put in place. There has to be documentation. But all of that is something that any incoming executive has to partner with HR on.
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I often say to my incoming C-suite executives: Who're the first people you have to have lunch with? It's the chief human resource officer. Lay out what you want to do around talent. Become the standard for talent [where you] help make them successful and get them to help you find the best person.
So here's a really tricky one. How do you suggest dealing with the employee who was passed over for the position that you now hold?
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You can't go like all Machiavelli on them and have them executed, so what do you do? I believe in an honest and candid conversation. And the first thing is there is always a sense of awkwardness all around this.
So it's important fairly early on in your tenure to have a direct conversation with the individual, acknowledging that they're probably disappointed that they did not succeed in getting this role, and then telling them you want them to succeed and you want the organization to succeed.
For example, if they were a controller in a finance organization and did not get the staff role because there were skill gaps around being an investor relations person or capable of investor relations, tell them, can we do something where you do take ownership of investor relations for a while so you build that skill into your portfolio? In my family had to leave our homeland because of the etnic problems that not-native, not-Uzbek people started to face in Uzbekistan.
We emigrated to America, and we were recognized as a political refugees. The organizations that helped us to move choose the city of Birmingham Al as a place where we were suppose to build our life almost from the sketch.
It was hard,very hard, but eventually we did it, though we are still working on it. Rita and her mother Genia Rita and her son Maksim. These are women who have committed to a vision of the future that is more just, equitable and inclusive. These women see governance as a way to serve and to shape a better Alabama, in which citizens are educated and valued, offered opportunities for economic and community empowerment, in which well-being is not a dream but is a premise of leadership.
I am a half-deaf childhood cancer survivor appellate attorney from Madison, Alabama. I am married to Tim Wasyluka Jr. We have a 3-year old daughter named Ruth Grace. I am also the adopted daughter of two life-long public school educators.
I earned my undergraduate degree at Auburn University where I developed a lifelong desire to serve my community which led me to go on to study law at the University Of Alabama School Of Law. After graduating law school, I have worked in a variety of legal areas including family law, bankruptcy, civil litigation and appeals.
My work as an attorney has given me the ability to serve the people of my community, has taught me how to work with parties on all sides of an issue, and has taught me that the quick and easy answer is very rarely the correct one. It also taught me the value of confronting the reality you have rather than the one you would like to have. Too often we have seen elected officials who view politics not as a way to serve their communities, but as a team sport where political points matter more than the needs of their constituents.
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To learn more about my campaign you can visit my website at: You can also check us out on social media at: We moved a lot when I was young; every step up the career ladder for my dad required our family to move to a new town, and often a new state. While moving was a lot of work for my mom, we kids loved the adventure of being in new places and meeting new people.
Married inI am the proud mother of two beautiful people. My daughter Elizabeth is a successful certified financial planner and my son Zackary is a plumber and a decorated Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in the Iraq war. I attended the University of South Florida and earned a B.