It felt like a long day in office and to make matters worse it was exactly like it’s commonly said, “time goes by so slowly for those who wait!” And finally when I glanced at my watch for the umpteenth time, it was 6 o’clock – the official end to the working day and I promptly switched off my laptop!
This is not a typical day for me. Until the day before, I had so much to do. It has also become a daily routine for me to end my evenings with long list of pending stuff which needs to be addressed the following day. But not today! Well, I was moving into a new role and the announcement had just come in. Though I knew I was getting into a new assignment for some time, I felt the full impact of it once the news was made official; it felt like my shoulders dropped on the work front.
When we are leaving an organization, this mindset is even more pronounced. However, movement within the same organization also leads to the following:
1. Loss of emotional connection to the “old” role;
2. Almost sudden lack of motivation and energy for the “soon-to-be-left” areas of responsibilities. Dare I say that our own discipline takes a backseat – faltering timeliness; late arrivals but early leavings; lengthy lunch breaks; more and more personal phone conversations, etc?
3. We begin to put thoughts in place (and plans!) for our new role as the current responsibilities begin to lose their importance;
4. Not discounting the fact that our bosses/colleagues also begin to prepare (verbally and/or otherwise) for our exit by beginning to give importance to the new incumbent; and naturally (if we’re in leadership roles), we stop making key decisions;
5. Our direct reports (and sometimes, indirect too!), getting the cue from this, stop coming to us for resolutions. It’s not a surprise that their productivity takes a dip as they struggle to deal with our ambiguity. Ironically, this is accompanied by numerous send off lunches; farewell dinners; etc which are all at once nostalgic, gossipy with the much “dreaded” photo opportunity sessions!
In short, our entire ecosystem slows down especially if we are in leadership roles and are on notice period. In fact, we are in danger of being a distraction to the rest of our colleagues! So how do we minimize these transition distractions?
One of the organisations I worked for had a swift culture where their announcement of ‘change’ would be immediately followed by transition/handover. While this might appear that there was hardly time for all parties to digest the news, the new leader appearing almost as quick as the announcement, had a higher success rate in the vacated role. This swiftness too is apt in addressing the logistic challenge of 2 places simultaneously needing new incumbents – in these situations; the most critical location/role needs to get the first shot at taking charge. And then there is the case of an external incumbent coming in – for the effective transition in this situation, it’s always better for change to be announced just prior to the start date of the new leader.
Having gone through many intra/inter organisational movements, I’m yet to see a perfect handover/ transition from the point of view of timing and impact. A few have been too quick while others too slow. When it was too quick, there were complaints from direct reports who inherited me as a boss; and when it was too slow, too much productive time of the organisation was lost in the waiting and the resultant indecisiveness!
I believe in Quick Relieving and Faster TakeCharge!
What does your organization practice?