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George Bradt
George Bradt
Offering a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his combined senior line management, journalistic, and consulting experience. Founder of executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, author of four books on onboarding and “The New Leader’s Playbook” weekly column on
Posted in Business

Early wins too early in onboarding can be counter-productive

Mar. 19, 2012 6:04 am
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

What do Kansas basketball player Tyshawn Taylor, Giants football player Ahmad Bradshaw, and executives onboarding into new roles have in common? The need to overcome their instincts and training to score whenever they can.

Tyshawn Taylor got the ball with an open run at the net with just a few seconds left in the game and his team 1 point ahead. He charged down the court and dunked the ball with 2.5 seconds left. Had he dribbled around for 3 seconds the game would have been over. Instead, he gave his opponents, Purdue, a chance to tie the NCAA tournament game.

Ahmad Bradshaw got the ball with an open run at a touchdown with just over a minute left in the Superbowl and his team two points behind. He charged towards the endzone realizing a little too late that he shouldn't score - yet. But he fell into the endzone, giving his opponents, the Patriots a chance to with the game.

It's the same story with new executives seeing chances to impress people with their ideas early on in a new job. Of course they should do this, just not too soon. Instead, they need to converge and evolve. The converging phase of onboarding is all about building relationships by listening and learning. As our old partner Mark Hubbard used to say, "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care". Any idea a new executive has early on is an idea he or she brought with them from the outside. If it's a better idea, it's someone else's better idea and better than the ideas in the organization. This is threatening and not condusive to relationship building.

In the end, Purdue missed their final shot, the Patriots final drive fell short, and 60% of executives do fine. But these are avoidable risks. Read the article "Proactively Converge and Evolve When Onboarding" for more.

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