The resignation of pretty much all of the leading politicians that led the UK’s referendum to exit the EU is astounding. Prime Minister Cameron’s departure was followed by Boris Johnson’s punctured deflation, which led to the metaphorical knives being twisted into Gove’s flabby frame. Then the sideshow that was beer-swilling Farage’s personal exit preceded “last-chance Leadsom’s” failure to fight for her principles - after her CV was publicly reviewed and found wanting.
An amazing two weeks in politics.
It could never happen in the business world.
Actually there was some important executive change news this week from the business world.
With Kevin Turner’s resignation from Microsoft, that whole sales and marketing organisation is looking for new leadership. Or maybe what I mean is looking forward to some leadership – after all, Turner was considered a divisive figure with many well-respected scalps to his name during his 11-year tenure at the top.
Microsoft is actually very good at handling executive change management. For example, when Ballmer went, he gave a year’s notice and a good reason for the need for change. NASDAQ investors rewarded the share price with a decent sized bump immediately - and in the following two years the stock has gained 65%.
Turner’s departure also positively affected the stock price, but less so, since there was no clear reason why he left and no specific successor.
One of the challenges in any Monday sales meeting is having to explain the senior leadership change “backstory” and how this change is a good thing for the sales force.
Sometimes it’s just not possible; other times it’s worth letting the sales team vent a bit. At least that way you learn something of the thoughts from the coal face.
With the sales force, however, the real issues will come later, when the new management starts to stamp its mark. Not explaining the data behind the reasons for change will certainly lead to loss of good people.
But it’s even more important to make sure that the team has a consistent message to give to customers.
Many times, senior execs will have become “customer sponsors” and one or more of your accounts might be affected by a leadership resignation. It’s important to ask your affected account managers for their input regarding potential replacements for executive sponsorship and what the plan should be to explain the changes to the client.
UK politicians' revolving door. Try explaining this amount of unexpected executive change to your clients!
Changing leadership is like changing strategy – and sometimes these coincide. You have to have a great change management plan and a communications strategy that encompasses customers, staff, internal processes and partners, in order to keep order.
Change management is all about “taking back control” in unforeseen circumstances. Despite their continued use of that phrase during the referendum debate, perhaps its true meaning is something that British #brexit politicians should have considered a little more…