Tips for onboarding managers

A really interesting idea from David Welling, Professor at Cranfield and (lucky for me) my mentor. If you’re in the process of hiring managers then these tips are well worth your time.

Just thought I would share my top tip for ‘on boarding’ people into management positions

Start date

If your new manager is starting on (say) 1st May, then tell them and everybody else they have no responsibility or authority in their new management role until 1st June. For the month of May they have two tasks…

1. To take their time to understand how things work and don’t work at this new place – helped by a semi structured induction programme that gives them time with others as well as time to follow the trails they identify

2. To prepare a presentation – to be given to whoever hired them during the last week of May. The presentation should…

a. Play back the ground they have covered
b. Identify the trails they have chosen to follow (and why)
c. Share the findings and insights they have gained
d. Set out a list of three things that have really impressed them and a list of three things that really have not
e. Propose how they plan to use the next 100 days to add the most value and become part of the new team

I have had to convince lots of Owner Managers that they can afford this – indeed that they can’t afford not to. The feedback from using this approach is always very positive – not just from the incomer but also from the respect it shows to everybody else.

There is a slightly darker side to this – if the presentation at the end of May is downright awful – the hirer has the chance to engage the hiree with those concerns before their rubber hits the road.

In a recent case it led to the rubber never hitting the road – which is a shame but a lot less messy than dealing with it 4 months later. I suggest this approach for management level roles but there is no reason it can’t be applied to all – just in proportion.

There’s flexibility of course; maybe a week not a month and maybe tighter terms of reference and a more modest presentation requirement. But the premise remains.

Some good advice.



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