Spotlight on Strategy: Successfully Transitioning the C-Suite


The Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “change is the only constant in life.” For businesses all over the world, change is truly the only predictable factor in terms of strategy and management. Transitioning C-suite leadership is one of the most impactful changes that happens within the management scene of a company. The integration period of new leaders with their accompanying communication and leadership styles can be an ominous one.

According to a McKinsey survey, a scant 27 percent of participants felt  their company provided the needed resources to smooth the transition into a C-level position. With this seeming lack of a playbook, entering C-suite leaders and current employees often feel an added weight to the already burdensome load of change.

Although it brings challenges, the transition to new C-suite leadership does not have to be a company’s downfall and certainly doesn’t have to leave behind a metaphorical bad taste. Focusing on a few key strategic management methods will allow your company to flourish during this intricate transition.

Set A Strategic Vision

In an attempt to remain open-minded, entering C-suite leaders may be tempted to implement only a simplistic plan so as to allow for flexibility in the future. Contrast that with others who may come in with an overwhelming agenda of goals and improvements. While both are well-intentioned, there is a better direction.

C-level professionals and employees best come together when a collaborative vision is crafted, both for the projected business strategy and the transitional period itself. Not only does this shared vision inspire the unity we all want for our company, but it fosters effective planning and strategy. When mutual goals and objectives are implemented, each facet of a company can work toward desired outcomes.

Create a Strategic Company Culture

Over time, the enthusiasm with which a C-level enters the position can quickly slide to the back burner as a dose of reality hits all too quickly. Maintaining a healthy amount of optimism is critical, which can be helped by making careful choices surrounding the ideal company culture.

A company’s culture determines much of employee and client satisfaction. Ask yourself, does our current company culture invite all employees to be an integral part of decision making, strategic planning and execution? Does the culture match and promote the brand we represent? During a transitional phase, emphasizing the feeling and culture you wish to cultivate early on will allow employees to adapt to new leadership and keep lines of communication open.

Involve Board and Team Members

Feeling a new burden of responsibility is common for an incoming C-suite leader, but it is unrealistic to demand of yourself all the right answers. Remember to depend on your team, especially your direct reports and the company board, during this transition. When you acknowledge the experience and successes of your team members and distribute responsibilities among them, your ever-growing list of to-dos will become a group effort, and the team will become an integral part of the transition phase.

Vision, company culture and involving board and team members is a challenge, but with StrategyBlocks it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or daunting process. StrategyBlocks’ strategic planning tools give businesses and C-Suite executives the ability to craft, adapt, communicate and execute plans across all levels of an organization. Vision statements can be carefully crafted with StrategyBlocks, and StrategyBlocks Cascading Blocks feature and executive dashboards help facilitate communication and execution across an entire organization. While it is true “change is the only constant in life,” StrategyBlocks helps change become an opportunity to think more strategically.