10 transitions every leader needs to master

“I am exhausted – I have transition overload!”

Dean, a leader with many years of international years experience, confessed even he was tired of managing another phase of change in his organisation.

This is not surprising – the more senior the leader, the increasing number of transitions they have to manage.

William Bridges (1991) published “Managing Transitions” where he focussed on the transition as opposed to the change itself. A transition is the internal manifestation of that change that happens within the individual – the psychological impact of the change itself. Whilst this might seem subtle, it is significant as he clarified the emotional impacts the individual experiences during each stage of a transition.

Bridges makes a key point that people experience change even if they don’t agree to or desire it. He highlights three zones of transition people go through when they experience change. He said they are:

  1. Ending, Losing and Letting Go
  2. The Neutral.
  3. The New Beginning
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How to get an ROI for expat leaders: manage the multiple transitions

Last week in Sydney at an International Forum for HR Directors of ANZ affiliates of global companies there were robust and thought provoking conversations.  Across them all there was the theme and constant challenge of how HR can continue to be a relevant and integral business partner and asset?

One clear way was to champion the infrastructure for the building of capability and performance.  There is always the necessity for all business leaders in ensuring prudent and effective return on investment.

This echoes what we regularly hear from our clients. We at OSULLIVANFIELD continue to be relevant and integral business partner and asset by creating resources and delivering programs that minimise the risk in these circumstances.

As business leaders of the HR function in global organisations they were also familiar with the unrealised return on significant investment (both financially and personally) of the expatriate assignments occurring under their watch.

Studies put the failure rate for expatriate leaders at between 25 and 50%. When you consider the obvious cost of recruitment, international relocation etc it is enormous, usually two to three times the total package. This does not account for the hidden expenses including the time and focus of the organisational resources at both home and host locations.

If the assignment fails this is a significant expense for the organisation. It has been suggested that for senior executives whose base salary is above US$250,000, the cost of a failed expatriate assignment can be up to 40 times base salary.

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