Monday, March 13, 2017

Whom Do You Take With You When You Leave?

When a new executive arrives into a company, we often expect them to bring a crew along with them. It's normal and expected. As high-performing people get hired into new positions, often a team is hired in reality. The leader of an excellent group recognizes that the team makes her or him successful, and looks to bring them along for each new exciting journey.

But what kind of people make up that team?

Have you ever thought about what kind of people you would bring along with you to a new role? Sit down and take out a pen and paper and write down the five people you would bring with you if you got hired into a role where you had the freedom to bring some staff along with you. Then let's walk through and see how it lines up with these thoughts on it.

Who You Select Creates The Culture

Did you pick people that agree with you most of the time? Did you pick friends that you enjoy working with? Did you pick hard workers for skills alone or those that would just follow what the boss asks? What about loyalty?

The type of people and the reasons that you selected them can tell you quite a bit about the culture that you would look to set up in a new role. You can use your selections and step through the questions above to see what traits you value in people and how you view your business relationships. How would your new peers view the people that you choose to bring along with you?

Would Your People Follow You?

One real question when trying to figure out who you would take with you is whether they would even follow you. This might play into the loyalty question on why you selected them, but it also involves taking into account all of the individual motivators that different team players have. Are they looking for career advancement? More money? More time at home with their children? Can you provide that, or would they prefer staying with their current job? 

This examination not only provides a different point of view for you on a new position before you take it, but also can help gauge your level of influence. If you can name off the top of your head five people that would immediately follow you to the end of the earth because you are a great person to work for, then you have likely found five very loyal individuals. Are all of them on your list or only some of them?

Can You Handle the Wake?

When a boat cruises across a lake, the motor cuts the water and creates waves emanating out from the back of the boat called a "wake." When a new individual comes into an organization from the outside, he or she creates ripples through the organization as well. Perhaps she is replacing a manager who left and supervising several individuals who thought they would get the job. Perhaps he is taking over for a beloved leader who decided to retire. Either way, it creates an emotional ripple through the organization. 

Should you choose to bring in additional people, they magnify the effect of the wake by causing their own ripples across their respective pools. Are you prepared to handle that? Learning and navigating a new position requires finesse and patience. Bringing in your own people can both provide you some comfort, familiarity, and security, but also creates excess political waves to navigate.


If you get the opportunity to take a new position and bring some colleagues with you, choosing whom to take can be a tricky decision. If you aren't in that position, you might still benefit from surveying your peers, colleagues, and friends to evaluate whom you might want to bring along, and then do some self-evaluation on why you would choose those individuals. You might learn as much about how you view work and what you value as you do about your ability to assess talent.

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