Onboarding New Leaders into EOS

by Jul 25, 2022Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS, Insights, Leadership

Preface: I have a great passion for this topic. It ties directly to the first Core Focus I wrote over: “My passion is to maximize growth and minimize pain to help leaders move to, and past, the tipping point of success.” It also comes from the fact that I have personal experience successfully onboarding. That said, there was a time I only lasted in a role for 11 months, so I’ve also been one of the statistical failures I’ll reference in just a second. Having seen both sides and had both experiences, I know what it takes to help a newly-joined leader find success, and I want to share that with you.

Leadership role transitions are a place of great opportunity and great risk, for both the leader and the organization. Research has quantified this risk: Over 40% of leaders fail within 18 months at a cost of over 18x the individual’s salary. The good news is that there’s a proven process to doing this well. EOS companies have all the tools in place to make this transition successful for the leader and the organization.

When adding a new leader to your team, it isn’t just about their professional qualifications. The initial focus must address the team’s perceptions and the leader’s feelings. For the new leader, here are the critical outcomes that have to be generated in the initial 6 to 12 months in a role:

  1. Feel Comfortable and Welcome
  2. Feel Productive and Connected
  3. Feel Confident and Competent

For the team, getting to know the leader and building trust in their competency are the critical first outcomes. Success from the new team is measured by their trust in their leader. They need to feel like their leader cares about them and will support them. A good fit also includes enthusiasm and the ability to form healthy relationships with peers and reports.

This all starts with hiring the right person, and recognizing that great hiring and poor onboarding happens all the time, and the cost of failure is astronomical. In EOS, we give you the People Analyzer™ as your hiring tool. Today we’re going to cover what you can do to ensure your new leader avoids joining the 40%+ failure category.

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Establish a solid onboarding process before hiring.

Yes, it’s important to make sure they’ll have a computer and email address on their first day. But to really set them up for success, your new leader needs to know how to understand and speak your company’s language. And that includes speaking EOS! Here is an overview of a process I have developed to coach leaders.

Your key tools are the resources we give you to teach EOS (books, EOS App, etc.) and the core tools you use to run your business: the VTO™, your Accountability Chart™, Quarterly Rocks, the Level 10 Meeting™, and the Company Scorecard. The quicker they understand, the more easily they’ll adapt and find a successful stride.

Use your GWC™ and Core Values feedback as a foundation for onboarding.

Open and honest starts by openly sharing the current state of the business, why you hired them (GWC feedback), and how their unique abilities and experience align with the role and weaknesses they have to overcome. This Success Plan template outlines the key conversations you need to capture around this topic.

Your hiring process should have provided clear answers to: Do they understand their role and what their responsibilities are? Do they truly want the work they’re doing? Do they have the capability and capacity to complete the work? Great onboarding is about capturing the answers and using them as a foundation to provide support and development where necessary. This clarity sets your new leader up for success.

Equally important is making sure their behaviors align with your core values. Taking a deeper dive into the values speech early on is very important.

Share your VTO early.

Beyond the individual expectation of their role, leaders need to lead for the greater good of the organization. Sharing your VTO is also a great litmus test for if they are passionate about vision for your organization and the work it will take to achieve it. If they show enthusiasm for the company’s goals and want to figure out their part in it, that’s great! If they seem neutral or unenthused, it gives you the opportunity to pry deeper into why they reacted that way.

Once hired, you should review the VTO with them quarterly, as you would with anyone else in the company. As a leader, expect them to start using it without having to repeat it seven times, but make that expectation clear from the beginning.

Use “wins” to build confidence.

I have had new leaders attend a quarterly 2-3 weeks before they even started their new job! Every quarterly review with a new leader has proven to me that it is a great way to start the onboarding of any leader. It gives them focus by establishing reasonable Rocks, reinforces they have a team of peers to support their success, and jumpstarts the relationship-building that is a foundation for trust.

They should leave a quarterly with a mix of items they have full responsibility for as well as projects they can work on with their team. In onboarding language, these are quick ‘wins’ that not only  build confidence in themself and their own abilities, it’ll also help build trust and confidence between them and their team. Plus, they get to immediately start helping the company work toward the VTO. It’s a win for everyone!

Even the best new hire needs support!

Even if your new leader has worked with EOS before and has 25 years of industry experience, these tips can help give them a warm welcome and set them on a path to success. Remember the feelings you are trying to create in the new leader: 

  1. Feel Comfortable and Welcome
  2. Feel Productive and Connected
  3. Feel Confident and Competent

An onboarding process that establishes these feelings and builds trust encourages your hired leaders to stay and build a career with your company. And that, my friends, is one of many ways you can use EOS to support sustainable company growth.

If you have any questions about using EOS to strengthen your hiring or onboarding processes, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can always email me at scott.patchin@eosworldwide.com or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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