Whether your company is in the middle of a business acquisition, you’re shifting teams, or you’re moving to a new company, there is always friction in a new position. Learning new processes, meeting new employees, or switching industries all-together can be quite the stir up. So how can executives try to limit the friction that takeovers cause?
How to Prepare for a Big Shift
The nature of a takeover depends on your situation – whether you’re staying or leaving. If you’re staying, it falls on you to prepare your team or organization for the relative unknown. If you’re leaving, it’s your job to prepare your team for a new executive and also evaluate your upcoming position.
But whether you’re staying or leaving, it’s important to evaluate any new situation that you’re entering for positive changes and potential landmines. It will never be a comprehensive layout of the new environment, but it does prepare you for any changes.
1. Acquisitions or Mergers. If your business is in the middle of an acquisition or merger, it could be a good time for you to:
- Assess the corporate structure of the acquisition
- Meet with or read files on executives or high-level employees
- Prepare your team or company for the merge
- Ask your senior executives for information on products, revenue, etc.
You can also do your own research and plan to ask more questions/do more investigating once the takeover is complete. The idea here is to make sure that you can find as many similarities between how your companies do business. This way, you can make it easier to shift to a mutually-beneficial process.
2. New Teams Within the Same Company. If you are switching to a new team or department within your current organization, you might want to:
- Get to know the other executives and high-level employees you’ll be interacting with
- Research the new team’s products, processes, current revenue/role, etc.
- Get to know your replacement and/or introduce him/her to your team
- Ask about the most important projects you’ll be taking over and prepare files on those
This is also a great time to quietly investigate any problems that are in the new department or team, such as low-performing employees or budget restraints. This way, you’ll know the lay of the land and won’t be blindsided on your first day.
3. New Executive Position or Industry. If you’re moving to a new company entirely, any executive should:
- Create a playbook with information about where to direct their questions, how to access all previous files, documents, information, etc.
- Get to know which projects are most important (open projects, looming deadlines, etc.)
- Spend time with the current executives or leadership and employees they’ll be managing if at all possible
- Research the company’s public image, revenue, stock information, and any other information that could spell trouble
- Ask the current team about the daily fires you should expect (e.g. project issues, employee concerns, or budget restraints)
Once you accept a position, it’s your job to prepare for Day One. It’s highly important that you set yourself up for success as soon as possible so that your executive skill set can make the most impact. Looking for anything that could get in your way will just show your new team that you came prepared.
Takeovers Don’t Have to Be Scary
Most people within a company or organization fear change, especially on larger scales. With new companies being absorbed, there comes the concern of team changes or revenue disruptions. When a good executive switches teams, both their old and new teams are going to experience shifts in how things are done. And when an executive leaves one company for another, the executive essentially has to learn their job all over again.
If you’re in the middle of an impending shift in your executive career, take a deep breath and get a good look around. What do you see approaching? How can you prepare for the day that it will be your situation to handle? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming; it is just a way to “see the future” and act accordingly. You’ll be amazed at how just this level of preparation can make any takeover easier.