Assimilating New Leaders

The Key to Executive Retention

Diane Downey, Tom March, Adena Berkman

Publisher: Amacom, 2001, 261 pages

ISBN: 0-8144-0645-9

Keywords: Leadership, Human Resources

Last modified: Dec. 13, 2015, 12:03 p.m.

The numbers are alarming: More than 70 percent of newly hired senior executives leave their positions within the first two years. The reasons for this are numerous. Often, the hiring organization expects a new executive — especially one who arrives with a high price tag attached — to hit the ground running, with minimal assistance or supervision. The "new leader" may not understand company protocols and existing programs, or may even have been a poor match from the start.

But while the reasons may vary widely, the results are the same — unexpected financial costs and organizational chaos for the hiring company, and career interruptions that the departing executive can find difficult if not impossible to overcome.

Assimilating New Leaders presents an in-depth process for ensuring that new leaders and their hiring organizations are able to leverage each other's strengths to achieve mutually beneficial goals. While most books on the subject offer simple guidelines for orientation and socialization of entry- and mid-level employees, this timely book goes deeper: It provides both a compelling business case for the need to focus on new leader assimilation and an innovative set of tools and approaches that will help organizations integrate and retain their top executives.

Assimilating New Leaders starts with specific strategies for ensuring a successful recruitment process, then outlines a four-stage process for weaving a new executive seamlessly into the fabric of an organization. Based on the authors' extensive experience working with senior managers and filled with numerous case studies, checklists, activities, and worksheets designed to help monitor each stage of the process, the book features:

  • A "reciprocal impact" assimilation model that outlines how both the organization and the individual can work toward their mutual assimilation goals.
  • Pre-hire strategies that go beyond "fit" to determine whether a candidate is the right choice for an organization at a particular point in time.
  • Specific activities that allow an organization to lay the groundwork for a new leader's successful entry.
  • Ways to assist new leaders in digesting their new environments — and adapting previously held assumptions to new circumstances and realities.
  • Steps for helping the new leader solidify his or her position and emerge as an organizationwide resource and contributor.

Since each new executive represents the future of an organization, it is important — in fact imperative — that the success of their relationship not be left to happenstance and luck. Assimilating New Leaders provides a step-by-step program for ensuring a new leaders ability to survive and thrive from his or her first day in an organization. In addition, it greatly enhances the organization's changes of fostering an orderly transition — and a successful, long-term relationship.

  • Part One: Setting the Stage for Successful Assimilation
    1. The Business Case for Executive Assimilation
    2. Reciprocal Impact: A New Assimilation Model
    3. Determining Assimilation Potential
  • Part Two: The Assimilation Process
    1. Stage One: Anticipating and Planning
    2. Stage Two: Entering and Exploring
    3. Stage Three: Building
    4. Stage Four: Contributing
  • Appendixes
    1. The New Leader's Handbook
    2. Organizational Checklists: Overview of the Assimilation Process


Assimilating New Leaders

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excellent ********** (10 out of 10)

Last modified: Dec. 13, 2015, 12:03 p.m.

It is very seldom you find a book that addresses the hiring of senior (or even middle) managers and so succinctly make a case for what should be well-know truths but seldom are. Pure astonishing and revealing reading, that explains why so many managers quit so fast (or are being forced out), and what could be done about it. It also lays to rest the nagging suspicion most of us that have lived through becoming a new manager have, that it unique circumstances that made our situation so hard to handle. It is not, as the authors explains with examples that mirrors my own experience.

A totally outstanding reading, and the fact that it forces you to re-read it a number of times and you find new angles, make it a truly recommended reading and an outstanding book for both HR and Senior Management.


There are currently no comments

New Comment


required (not published)