Hit the ground running

The need for developing new on-boarding strategies for Millennial Leaders.

By Armin Forstner


More and more organisations are hiring and promoting Millennials (Generation Y), those born after 1980, into leadership positions. This generation has a whole new set of expectations both from their leaders and for themselves as leaders. Leadership requirements have evolved from: my job; my boss; my pay cheque; my annual appraisal, to a new set of requirements: my purpose, my development, my coach, my ongoing conversation, my strengths and my life.


Furthermore, organisations are facing a massive increase in hiring costs due to the transitory nature of Millennial talent in their jobs. According to a recent Gallup survey, 50 % of all millennial talent are seeking to leave their employer within 1 year.


Team’s without leader’s or rapidly changing leadership lose productivity and have a negative impact on the overall morale of that team. According to data from Deverell Smith’s, Career Builder Surveys and Forbes Magazine cost can be between 8x – x14 times the executive’s salary. While the impact on team morale leads to increasing levels of disengagement or team members seeking alternative employment. This can become a negative downward spiral of team performance, productivity and engagement.


Additionally, we must acknowledge the general and very real challenges faced by a new leader:  new culture and values, new people, new practises and new performance expectations.


Faced with these realities, organisations need the re-think and design mindful, strength-based and innovative on-boarding approaches with an understanding of how to build a constructive and generative environment that is critical to your sustained success.


Discussing these matters across Europe as part of our masterclass series, we asked three simple questions:


  1. How can we support Millennial talent development?
  2. What frameworks need to be in place to avoid bad hire/promotions?
  3. What are the leadership requirements to create engaged teams?


Positive and mindful leadership tools and frameworks can very easily help answer these three questions.


First, we need to design new on-boarding strategies moving them from more technical (workplace and IT setup, procedures and guidelines) to a more human-centred approach by front-loading the leader’s development investment. Ideally this starts before the new leader enters the building.


The solution


We developed and are using an intuitive 4 step process that fuses positive leadership, behavioural science and mindfulness, enabling personal leadership development while also empowering individual and team performance. It holds true to our experiential learning philosophy of KNOWING: DOING: BEING


LEARN: Self-Discovery and Awareness

This is our ZERO point (Ground Zero), the time after you signed the contract and before you start you new role, we capture the enthusiasm of this leader to focus on self-awareness, behavioural fitness and strength discovery. We have all been in this situation before we start the new role, like with our new year’s resolutions where we promise ourselves to be a better listener or not to micro manage this time round. Unfortunately, just like our new year’s resolution, it is hard to break old habits and create new ones, so here professional habit hacking comes into play.


LAND: Team & Culture Discovery

From day 1 in the new job, we now look at the strengths of the team, how to manage them and start the discovery of how the team sits within the wider organisation.


LISTEN: Positive Strategic Function and Analysis

Using the Serrano 99 SCOC framework, we positively analyse the strategy using the collective knowledge of the existing team and its stakeholders.



Finally, delivering what the new leader is therefore i.e. to lead, we use the Appreciative Inquiry framework to facilitate team alignment and create new processes and projects for the new leader to very quickly deliver results. This generates a collective buy in and enthusiasm towards achieving the targets they and the organisation have set for them. This framework, is specifically designed to enable someone assuming a new leadership role to set the appropriate working context for their and their teams exceptional performance. It enables leadership development, enhanced self-awareness, understanding of how behaviours impact performance and team dynamics, while also achieving collective alignment towards achieving the team and organisations objectives.


As an employer, it is critical to recognise that you have invested in finding whom you believe to be the right person for the job but you need to understand the context in which you expect them to perform, as well as, setting the context to enable them to achieve their potential. You need to invest and front-load the leader’s development. Take advantage of their enthusiasm for their new role, and empower them to achieve outstanding results.


At Serrano 99, we work with our clients to help create the right context for leaders joining their organisation, provide the right training and interventions, targeted to the right audience, in a generative, positive and mindful manner.

Posted on November 8, 2017 in Behavioural Science, Habit hacking, Insights, Mindfulness, Positive Change, Positive Leadership, Team efficiency

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