Top traits to look for in a transition manager

Many companies today look outside their organisations for direction when they’re going through change.

It’s a wise approach. Transition managers are dedicated professionals that are completely focused on helping teams successfully deliver and adapt to change. They’re usually executive interim managers that move from contract to contract, supporting clients in implementing key projects.

But if you need to appoint a transition manager, what traits and skills do they need? What should you look out for in making a successful appointment?

In our experience there are four stand-out traits in a good transition manager:

1. Strong decision-making

    Transition managers will need to react to the situations they find themselves in and make decisions about actions required, when to involve others and the right path to follow.

    You should question interim applicants about how they make decisions. Are they systematic in their approach, or do they rely on gut feeling? Will they seek the opinions of others about the right choice? How fast do they move in decision making?

    The right candidate will examine the options carefully, seek the views of others but ultimately, make and stick to their own decision, without too much delay.

    2. Great people skills

      Landing successful change is more about influencing people than anything else. Designing systems, processes and structures will count for nothing if you cannot persuade your employees to embrace and adopt them.

      Good transition managers are great at engaging people, getting their buy-in and bringing people together as a team.

      3. Results focus

        Ask the applicants how they will know when they have successfully delivered the job. The answer will tell you a lot about them.

        The right candidate will want to have clear and agreed objectives and KPIs for the project, that will confirm unequivocally whether success has been achieved. Candidates who talk in general terms but without any specific measures should be avoided.

        4. Senior level credibility

          Successful change needs to be led from the top, and you should seek a transition manager who will be able to influence and engage board-level stakeholders. The right candidate will naturally seek to build a relationship with an appropriate director, with whom to test ideas and agree actions.

          They won’t seek day to day guidance or leadership from this director but will maintain a level of ongoing contact to reassure and inform them.

          WIL Group has a global network of highly skilled and experienced professionals that deliver transition and change on a daily basis. For advice on your business challenges contact us today.

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