Flip it

One of the great wonders in management is the handover and takeover process.

In my experience, a lot of people try to do better when they are about to handover their roles. They expect empathy and understanding from their successor, after all, considering the circumstances, they gave it the best possible shot. If anything, they deserve accolades.

Interestingly, the same people become critical when taking over a new role. They keep wondering how the predecessor couldn’t see all the “obvious” opportunities for high performance and then they start pumping themselves up for a turnaround management style.

The problem is that turnarounds are for teams moving in the wrong direction, but most teams aren’t. The collective intelligence of teams always improves the average intelligence. Turnarounds are required where teams do not exist. If everyone seems to be heading in separate directions, then, it will be great to get each individual to turnaround, meet one another at the center and decide which direction to explore, together.

However, when you have a team already on a roll and you start searching for reasons to turnaround, you are only taking everybody back and hoping to cover it up with the popular narrative of returning to the basics. Sadly, a lot of leaders buy into turnaround narratives, so management changes are typically characterized by dips in performance before the hotshot does a turnaround of his turnaround (a 360 degree turn) and returns to the direction he turned away from, hoping no one notices the resources wasted, by feeding a narrative of stronger foundations.

Great managers flip it. They are critical of the work they’ve put in, proactively sharing the opportunities for improvement with their successors and they listen to understand their predecessors, asking a lot of questions to truly understand context.

– Osasu Oviawe

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