At CSR, we’re always looking for cool tools that make teams work more effectively. One of my colleagues recently led a team effectiveness exercise for a client that was SO much better than the 360 surveys of yesteryear. And another tool to ensure that business leaders or new managers are highly attuned to their team is the New Manager Assimilation.
The New Manager Assimilation takes a page from Fortune 500 companies’ playbooks but is highly available to any size business that finds itself with a new leader or hires a new team. New leadership or a significant number of new team members can be a scary change. The fear stems from a lot of unknowns and assumptions (rarely good), and this fear can be paralyzing or at least really slow productivity. Here’s how an assimilation works:
- An objective facilitator meets with the team reporting in to the new leader. The leader is not present. The facilitator gathers concerns and questions from the team members in either an open format (round robin style to make sure all have turns) or anonymously via written answers to question prompts. The fewer restrictions on what the team may ask, the better.
- The facilitator immediately meets with the manager to present the team’s questions and concerns. The manager then has a bit of time to collect his/her thoughts and categorize the responses.
- What follows is an open style of meeting where the manager provides answers to the team’s questions in a hot seat format. Everything gets addressed as quickly as possible, and follow-up questions can be asked. There may be some issues that need a longer time for working out, but the facilitator captures those and ensures follow-through in a reasonable time.
The beauty of the hot seat assimilation is that it provides candid answers in quick fashion to team members who want to understand more about their leader. The time and energy invested in this type of session can accelerate productivity, improve morale, and allow a business to rapidly reach its goals. We encourage you to give this a try, and CSR would be pleased to be a part of it!