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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

Warning: Early Wins for New Leaders Can be Counterproductive

Mar. 28, 2012 7:29 am

Early team wins are important for new leaders, but not all victories are created equal. External wins outside of the organization or team are more impactful than internal ones. Individual wins, either external or internal, can be counterproductive if a leader hasn’t yet gained the support of his or her team.

External/Team Early Wins

External wins are the best type of early victory because it gives the leader credibility within the team and they are less prone to judgment than internal process improvements. Only after a leader is able to rally the team can he or she even begin to think about making internal changes.

Generally, external victories involve a meaningful improvement in revenue, costs, customer satisfaction or brand strength.

This is all part of the importance of converging and evolving when going into a new role, starting a new team, or starting a new initiative. This approach involves building productive relationships before instituting internal changes.

Team wins beat individual wins because teams beat individuals. Individual wins by leaders in the process of converging into a culture can be counterproductive because they can make other team members feel inadequate or threatened.

Team wins later on, while the team is evolving and the leader is building support, build team confidence. (Follow this link for more converging and evolving, and then this link for more on how early wins too early can be counterproductive).

Follow this link for the full article and case study on

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