Choose the Right Approach for the Business Context and the Culture You Face


You have important choices to make before Day One. One choice that you must make in advance is how best to engage with the existing culture. Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition; and it is essential that executives know what their cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One. We have developed an ACES model, which lays out three cultural engagement choices: (1) Assimilate, (2) Converge and Evolve (either fast or slow), and (3) Shock. After the decision to take the job in the first place, this may be the most important decision you make in your first 100 days.

You must pick the right approach if you are to have any hope of a successful transition. It is difficult, if not impossible, to recover from a wrong cultural engagement choice. Making the right pick is dependent on the context you're walking into and the existing culture's readiness for change. We recommend that you think this through early, test your hypothesis during your Fuzzy Front End, and then relook at your choice just before Day One.

Don had had a successful career as a management consultant, venture capitalist, and most recently as a COO of a mortgage company that he helped turn around. So when he was hired as COO of a high-growth company to bring in better management controls, ...

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