I'm a senior executive at an organization. I've been here a long time. We have a new CEO who's come in and is trying to change things, shake up the organization, and implement a new vision and strategic direction. As I said previously, I've been here a long time. Knowing that, what are my best ways to dig my heels in and resist change to keep everything just like we’ve been doing it forever?
Yearning for Yesterday
Senior Executives and Navigating Change
No, we didn't actually receive this letter. With the strategy transformation work that Brainzooming does, though, we see lots of senior executives who seem to be wondering about the core question, though. We regularly experience long-tenured executives try to fight off change when a new CEO with a turnaround strategy enters the scene.
The strategy of an executive digging in their heels always baffles me because it's exactly the worst strategy to adopt.
If you're in the middle of a turnaround and you're not in a role that’s so prominent that the new chief executive MUST fire you automatically, there are two smart responses to transformation, change, and keeping your job:
Strategy 1: I’m On Board
You can say, “I didn't (or couldn't) see this type of transformative change and new ideas under the old leadership. Now, though, it’s clear that we need this new direction, and I’m completely on board.”
Strategy 2: I Was on Board Even Before You Got Here
You might say, “I've been saying that we needed to make these kinds of changes for a long time. I couldn't get any traction for new thinking, so I’m completely on board with this transformation and the change in strategic direction.”
Note: If you employ this strategy, you need to be able to offer proof that you were advocating for change and being overlooked previously.
With either of these strategies, your next step is leaning strongly into learning, asking questions, and embracing new thinking and change. You need to be a vocal advocate for the changing direction and its benefits with everyone you engage with on your team and in the broader organization.
So, yes, Yearning for Yesterday, those are ways to deal with change and transformation. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear. If you expect to be successful, you need to make yourself an important part of the new team. Forget your hopes that digging in your heels will work, because it won’t.
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