Leadership lesson. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt announced his retirement last week and handed the reigns over to founder Larry Page. Interesting move for the company and I am not going to speculate here what this is about, however I was interested in one of the reasons they advised for doing this.
Mr Page advised that it was decided he be the top decision maker because of the scale of the company and the current three way process for decision making was confusing to employees. The new structure will make it easier on their team to understand who they report to and who they should send an email to. This highlights the fact that a company’s size and success is irrelevant, clear lines of authority are necessary for success in business.
This can be a common problem for a small business that brings in a second tier manager. If the recruitment of the manager is not communicated effectively it can cause great confusion, not only for the new recruit but also for the existing staff. It can cause a drop in morale, people to feel threatened causing them to ‘defend their position and think as an individual’ rather than as a team and the new manager to feel isolated. This all comes back to effective change management.
When there is any change to a business structure or organisational chart, the ‘what, why, when and how’ needs to be communicated to ensure all are on board. This also encourages the leader to carefully think through the decision to bring a staff member into the business and being clear on the expectation of the new manager. Some leaders can be guilty of certainly knowing they need another body as the business has grown which is fantastic, however, clear expectations are not determined for the new recruit or the impact on the current job roles assessed. This can cause a world of pain down the track including frustration, confusion, loss of productivity and the risk of not receiving the return on your investment of an additional wage.
So when your business has grown and you are contemplating the recruitment of a second tier manager to assist you in working on strategy, ensure that you have thought through the role the new person will play, what your expectations are in terms of behaviour and results (your ROI), if it impacts on current job roles and most importantly, ensure that you communicate this clearly and concisely to your current team. Manage the change in your business effectively. This will be Google’s challenge also.